Shaquille O’Neal and Greg Oden had their much-anticipated matchup this weekend, and O’Neal dominated the youngster. The Shogun of the paint had his best game of the season, scoring 19 and ripping down 17 boards against the overmatched rookie.
Afterwards, O’Neal added insult to injury. Shaq didn’t exactly feel as though he had just played against a younger version of himself. From The Oregonian:
“The next Shaq lives with me. Seriously. My youngest son will probably be the next Shaq if he decides to play,” O’Neal said. “I was a special case. David Robinson… there is only a couple special cases that only come around once every while. Yao (Ming), he’s a special case.”
And then, ever so subtly, O’Neal landed the real insult. It was veiled as a compliment, but was deliberate in its pronunciation. “Guys like Odom and (Andrew) Bynum — they are 7-foot and great athletes, but it will probably take a couple years to get to that dominant level,” O’Neal said.
Burn. Welcome to the big leagues, kiddo.
Oden should have seen this coming, of course. Shaq has spent as much of his career insulting his foes in the paint as he has dunking on them.