One of the allures of watching the Los Angeles Lakers play is a chance to see celebrities rub elbows with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the crew. Celebrities range from Hollywood stars, athletes from other sports, ex-NBA players, and the like. They don’t just head to Staples Center (which will soon be known as Crypto.com Arena) just because they live nearby. But also because they’re well-aware of the Purple and Gold’s winning culture.
However, a Lakers legend himself believes those days are long gone. Shaquille O’Neal admitted that he does not make an effort to drive to the arena to watch his former team play. The Diesel cannot endure seeing his former team in the ruts. He would rather watch another California team that is armed with the greatest shooter of all time.
“I’m not even going, I’m not even going anymore. Who wanna watch them people play? I don’t celebrate 7th place, at all. I celebrate Steph Curry, that’s who I celebrate. And I go to Golden State and watch them play,” O’Neal said The Big Podcast with Shaq.
Shaq shares the disappointment of the legion of Lakers fans across the globe. After their massive offseason haul, which featured Hall-of-Fame talent, the Lakers have yet to put on a dominant campaign as they should. There are lingering questions if they will, at one point, turn on a switch and win a string of games.
As of writing, Frank Vogel’s crew sport a 15-13 record for sixth in the Western Conference. The thinking that “there’s a lot of season left in this one” has been used over and over again. Shaq knows the game better than anyone and understands that the Lakers are not the well-oiled machine they once were in 2020 when they won the title.
Meanwhile, the Warriors are exceeding all expectations this season. Many believed that things would pick off once Klay Thompson returned. Yet here they are, a quarter into the season, reigning supreme in the NBA once again.
Lambast Shaq all you want. But man is a competitor by nature. For him, dunks, flashy passes, or emphatic rejections are trivial forms of entertainment. What matters for Shaq is if the team is well in-sync and capable of winning. Yes, the Lakers hold a special place in his heart. But it’s the Warriors who are getting the job done.