NBA Hall of Famer and former Lakers’ star Shaquille O’Neal has been popping off about Jazz big man Rudy Gobert on Instagram lately. Gobert just signed a five-year, $205 million deal, which is probably the source of Shaq’s haterade. Plenty of basketball fans were probably hoping for a heated exchange, but it looks like Gobert is taking the high road.
SHAQ roasts Rudy Gobert on IG. pic.twitter.com/lLzmXtngZS— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 4, 2021
“I would had 45 points 16 rebound ten missed free throws in three quarters. He woulda had 11 pts four rebounds and fouled out in 3 quarters. I’m a G,” O’ Neal wrote.
Jazz star big man tweeted back his response after decoding O’Neal’s broken English.
There is no beef. If people wanna keep speaking negatively about me or keep discrediting what i do it’s on them and all that does is show who they are. I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And i’m gonna keep beating the odds. https://t.co/l241ZQ2Qk4— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) January 4, 2021
“There is no beef,” Gobert wrote. “If people wanna keep speaking negatively about me or keep discrediting what i do it’s on them and all that does is show who they are. I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And i’m gonna keep beating the odds.”
We have a couple of points to unpack, here.
Shaq isn’t wrong
Shaq would definitely annihilate Rudy Gobert in any contest that involved the sport of basketball. That seems fair. Shaq is arguably the most dominant player ever to touch a Spalding, a conversation that will never involve Gobert.
So, let’s move on to the problem with Shaq’s approach.
Rudy Gobert just agreed to a max contract with the Utah Jazz, so he’s now solidified as a franchise cornerstone. In Shaq’s heyday, the Lakers traded him to the Miami Heat in order to build around Kobe Bryant. The Lakers were inadvertently saying that Shaq wasn’t worth the deal that Gobert ended up landing for himself.
Should Shaq have commanded a max-type contract? Well, obviously he should have, but the team’s decision not to sign such a contract with him had more to do with O’Neal’s frayed relationship with Kobe than it did his talent. That doesn’t make the decision to deal Shaq right–it’s just fair to point out the facts.
Here’s what Shaq should do instead
Shaq now serves as a beloved broadcaster for TNT, and his legacy is secure. He’s an all-time great that should not feel threatened by Rudy Gobert in any way. If we asked Shaq if he felt threatened, he would surely say he wasn’t. So if he wants us to believe that, then he should let Rudy Gobert play in peace.
To be clear, Shaq isn’t worried Gobert will be remembered as a better player. He’s simply upset that players he perceives as “less than” are making “more than.” His frustration is understandable, but he should leave it alone.
Good on Rudy Gobert for ignoring the noise the way Dwight Howard couldn’t.