Not a single game has been played in the 2012-2013 NBA season yet, but there is already trouble in Tinseltown. No, thankfully, the drama is not between the Los Angeles Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers. Instead, it has been realized between a retired NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Lakers’ newly acquired starting All-Star center, Dwight Howard.
During a media interview on Thursday, Dwight Howard called Shaq out, responding to his comment on a TNT broadcast that the two best true big-men in the NBA are Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum.
“He [Shaq] hated the fact when he played that the older guys were talking about him and how he played and now he’s doing the exact same thing,” Howard said. “Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in the league. He’s one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. Just sit back and relax. You did your thing. Your time is up. So, I don’t really care. I don’t really care. He can say whatever he wants to say.”
In Shaq’s defense, however, he did clear his statement up, namely by defining a true big-man in the NBA as a center that plays with his back to the basket, not one that relies on the pick-and-roll game.
The truly interesting thing to take away, however, is the fact that Dwight Howard has finally found the strength to respond to someone he is previously quoted as player he looked up to at a younger age. Although this doesn’t mean very much in terms of the sport of basketball, it is nice to see Dwight Howard showing a little bit of fury and having the maturity to respectfully say “enough is enough” to one of your role models.
“I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. Like I said, he’s already did his thing. He played. When my time is up, there’s going to be somebody else who can do everything I can do, and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about him, I’ll do my job to try to help him to get to where I’m at. I think that’s what guys who have done it before us should do.”
In my honest opinion, there really is no reason for Shaq to be intentionally (or unintentionally) belittling Dwight Howard’s accomplishments, or his decision to accept a trade to the Lakers. I love Shaq, he’s hilarious, brought the Lakers 3 titles, and has an unbelievable personality that fit in beautifully with the L.A., Miami, Phoenix, and Boston scenes. At the same time, Dwight should not be constantly bothered by things that are said or left unsaid by a retired NBA great. Assuming there is some intentional slight in every comment Shaq makes would be a full-time job, and quite frankly Dwight, you have much bigger fish to fry.
Until next time…