Never known to mince words, Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal has been unrelenting in his criticism of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
Gobert, a defensive stalwart for one of the NBA’s strongest teams, signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the Jazz two weeks ago. O’Neal, revered as a dominant two-way player in his heyday, apparently took issue with the amount of money that Gobert received from the Jazz and then took aim at the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Appearing on the All Things Covered podcast last Wednesday, O’Neal was hardly covert when insulting Gobert, saying that “you can average 11 points in the NBA… [and] get $200 million.” Gobert has career averages of 11.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while O’Neal has career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Shaq then made a post on Instagram, comparing the two in a hypothetical head-to-head.
Although initially commenting on the Instagram post, saying “I guess we’ll never know,” Gobert then opted to take the high road in the back-and-forth with the 48-year-old O’Neal.
“There is no beef,” writes Gobert on Twitter. “If people want to keep speaking negatively about me or keep disrespecting what I do, it’s on them and all that does is show who they are. I will always be happy for my brother beating the odds. And I’m going to keep beating the odds.”
This isn’t Shaq’s first time ruffling the feathers of a current feather, as he’s also insulted centers JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard on multiple occasions in highly-publicized disputes. It likely won’t be the last either, considering his outspoken nature and an ego that may be as big as his 7’1,” 300-plus pound frame.
However, when looking at Shaq’s career NBA earnings ($286.3 million), one can see where his frustration lies. Unfortunately for the Big Diesel, like many other former NBA superstars, his career started too early for him to capitalize on a player-driven league with lucrative TV contracts.