Shaquille O’Neal Hopes to Motivate Dwight Howard By Angering Him

Despite what some may believe, Shaquille O’Neal says he has no ill will towards Dwight Howard, this despite repeatedly criticizing him in public. O’Neal does it all in an effort to bring out the best in Howard. As for Dwight, he says that’s the wrong approach, but remains happy for Shaq as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to retire his jersey tonight. Per the LA Times: “I love Dwight and I see his potential. Hopefully when I say these things he gets mad,’ O’Neal said. ‘Just think about it. At the dunk contest, he dunked on that thing when it was 15 feet. Remember that? OK, so why can’t you back people down [in the post]? Because if you think I didn’t play against great centers, he’s not playing against nobody, you know what I mean? So he should be able to back people down and jump-hook them to death. That’s why I envision in him as a player.’ Howard actually jammed on a 12-foot hoop while wearing a Superman cape in the 2009 dunk contest, but why stop O’Neal? He was on a roll. ‘Same thing Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] did to me, the same thing Wilt [Chamberlain] did to me,’ O’Neal said. ‘I can remember one time reading an article and I’m averaging 37 [points] in the playoffs and we lose and somebody asks Kareem, ‘Hey, what do you think about Shaq? He’s a great player.’ And Kareem says, ‘Yeah, he’s OK, but he hasn’t won any championships.’ I didn’t respond, I didn’t cry, I just stepped up and got to the next level. So I’m always going to stay on [Howard] because I actually see him being one of the best Lakers ever if he steps up.’ Howard has listened to O’Neal’s critiques over the years — and has his own rebuttal. ‘I understand he thinks making me mad in that kind of way is going to push me, but I just feel like if he wants to do that the best way to go about it is to come talk to me personally,’ Howard said. ‘Because when it gets out to the public, they just view it that we just have this big feud going on and that’s not fair to me or him. I just think that he should come to me man to man and say, ‘Hey, this is how I feel.'”