Last night, Dwight Howard (19/11) won the statistical battle over Shaquille O’Neal, but it was O’Neal who ended up winning the war, as the Cavs convincingly beat Orlando yet again.
Afterward, Shaq let the world in on his feelings toward the Magic center (and the silly nickname, “Superman”. Let’s just say that he wasn’t in a complimentary mood.
The Plain Dealer reports:
“When I was coming up and there was Pat Ewing and Hakeem [Olajuwon], I never doubled anybody,” O’Neal said. “You tell me who the real Superman is. Don’t compare me to nobody. I’d rather not be mentioned. I’m offended. You’re all giving away titles, it’s crazy.”
“I don’t consider it manning up until you play me straight up,” O’Neal said. “Don’t let them double-team me and make it a him vs. me thing. Eighteen years straight — Hakeem, Ewing, Rik Smits, [Tim] Duncan, [David] Robinson, the best of the best, straight up. I never doubled nobody. Nor have I ever asked for double-team. If you want to bang and push, let’s bang and push.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Shaq has gone after Howard, who he perceives as an undeserving media darling.
Howard has been smart not to get into a verbal sparing match with O’Neal — a fight neither he or anyone else can win — and it’s pretty obvious that Shaq is using all this barking as motivational and psychological ploys for the battles that lay ahead between Cleveland and Orlando.
Here’s to hoping that Dwight doesn’t end up crying over Shaq’s criticism this time around.