Skip to main content

“I wish I was playing with these buttercups right now. It’ll be a slaughterhouse out there" —Shaquille O'Neal sounds off on today's NBA

According to Shaq, there's an apparent disparity in talent between the past generation and this current one
Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

There's a reason why NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal is harsh towards the big men in the NBA today (most notably Rudy Gobert). The Diesel strongly believes they can perform so much better because Shaq played in a big man's NBA - he knows it's possible today as well despite the 3pt revolution. 

That's why as years have passed since O'Neal retired from the game, the 4-time champion believes that today's players are no longer cut from the same cloth.

Not hating, just pure honesty

According to O'Neal, it's unfortunate that there are only a handful of superstars who qualify as one of the best to play the game. There's an apparent disparity in talent between the past generation and this current one. Shaq feels he would've easily dominated today's game because of the lack of talent on the court.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"It's a lot of guys being mentioned now and only a few you can pick from this dimension and bring them in. LeBron, Steph guys like that, but I'm mentioned with the old aliens. So like people always, you hating, you hating. It's not that I'm hating, I wish I was playing with these buttercups right now, I wish I was. I promise you I wish I was playing. Ah, it'll be a slaughterhouse up there," O'Neal said in his latest episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq.

In fairness to O'Neal, he has the right to chime in about the lack of talent in today's NBA. After all, he put up 27.0 points, 3.1 assists, and 11.8 rebounds a game, won 3 Finals MVPs, and was a league MVP during his prime years with the Lakers.

Shaq has also admitted multiple times that he critiques today's NBA because he is one of the trailblazers who fought hard for big men to earn massive million-dollar contracts. So in return, he would like to, at the very least, watch these big men play within the standards he once set.

How would prime Shaq dominate today's NBA?

Since Shaq theoretically said that he'd probably dominate in today's league and even compared them to "buttercups," let's assess if there is validity to that. The best big men in the NBA today are (in no order) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Anthony Davis. Would it be fair that O'Neal would square up well against them? Certainly.

However, it's also important to note that shooting and small ball have become vital in modern basketball, which arguably isn't O'Neal's strongest suit. Unlike the names mentioned above, Shaq was a poor shooter throughout his career, but he did his damage best by dominating and utilizing his physical gifts inside the paint. O'Neal would also probably have a hard time in drop coverages or when he's being mismatched the way guards and forwards do it in today's league.

Ultimately, there's a reason why no player has surpassed O'Neal as the most dominant big man in NBA history. That's how he cemented his legendary status and how he will always be remembered in the NBA, no matter the era. So at the very least, O'Neal has the right to boast about his accomplishments and share his two cents (he is indeed getting paid for it) about his feelings towards the big man in today's NBA. 

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives