What did Shaquille O’Neal say about Rudy Gobert?
Shaquille O’Neal responded after Spice Adams suggested Wolves center Rudy Gobert would keep him to just 12 points in a game.
Shaquille O’Neal has turned into a popular commentator since the NBA legend left the courts behind, a cool character and an analyst who loves nothing more than to show off his oratory skills when given the chance. The former Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers and Celtics player recently jokingly said that he would train the Lakers for $25 million a year (no NBA gets paid anywhere near that much) and he has now been goaded into having his say on Rudy Gobert after Spice Adams, O’Neal’s co-host on the Big Podcast, suggested the Wolves center would keep him to only 12 points in a game: something that rarely happened when Shaq was at his peak and dominated the NBA.
Gobert is one of the few traditional centers left in the current NBA and an excellent defender, who protects the rim very effectively. During his time with the Utah Jazz he won the NBA’s Best Defender award on three occasions (2018, 2019 and 2021), leaving him only one trophy short of the historical record shared by Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace. His situation at the Jazz was delicate given his relationship with Donovan Mitchell, the pair never really seeing eye-to-eye in Utah, and eventually it was the Frenchman who made way in a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
O’Neal and Gobert’s war of words
Shaq was quick to laugh off the notion that Gobert could restrict him to 12 points in a game. “12 points? Yeah, in the first three minutes”, he responded to Adams. “Let me tell you something, man. It’s against my religion for somebody to hold me one-on-one. I take that personally. I do. First play of the game I always used to look and see what the defense is going to do.” he said. Gobert had previously suggested he would keep O’Neal quiet after criticism from the former Lakers big man in May - who averaged 23.7 points per game during his NBA career - stating he would “lock his ass up.”
The Wolves center was also the target of Shaq’s criticism in 2020 when he signed a $205 million extension with the Jazz. “I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there. You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million. The silver lining is he is a great agent, and I’m happy for him and his family. I’m happy for him, but this is a moment for a lot of kids who think they can’t make it.”