Skip to main content

Shaquille O’Neal explains why he thinks Nikola Jokic is the “Tim Duncan of big men”

Shaq likened Jokic to Duncan because of the way they can dominate opponents.
San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan guards Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

Tim Duncan and Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic's NBA journey has been a delight to watch. From a 41st overall pick, he has transformed into arguably the best center in the league today. Even if he is a unique player, comparisons to some of the all-time greats are inevitable. But Shaquille O'Neal might have offered one of the most comical ones yet.

"Kenny and Chuck, I hope you agree with me," Shaq said. "He's the Tim Duncan of big men."

Isn't TD a big man?

To be likened to the San Antonio Spurs legend is certainly quite flattering. After all, Duncan is arguably the best power forward in history and has earned many achievements throughout his 19-year career.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

However, the fact that Jokic and Duncan are both technically big men has some who heard the "Inside the NBA" host's statement stopping in their tracks. Maybe it's just semantics, as O'Neal could have meant to point out that the Denver Nuggets and Spurs stars primarily played different positions, although Duncan played mostly at center in the latter stages of his career.

Shaq has also made it clear several times in the past that he believes "power forwards and big men are two different categories."

Similarities between Joker and TD

Whether you agree with O'Neal's explanation about the positions or not, it's hard not to concur that there are indeed plenty of similarities between Duncan and Jokic. The burly big man also expressed why he made that comparison.

"The way he dominates the game," Shaq explained. "He's not flashy, love this kid."

Like the Spurs icon, Joker has been dominating opponents without being flashy (except for his passes.) For example, two games ago, the two-time MVP put up a 40-point, 27-rebound, and 10-assist stat line to lead Denver to a four-point win over the Charlotte Hornets. Then on Tuesday, he recorded a lucky triple-double (13-13-13), and even though it wasn't as stellar as his previous numbers, you could tell that the all-around big had his imprint all over the game.

If he continues playing this way through the rest of the season and helps the Nuggets maintain their lead in the Western Conference, the league could see the first player to win three consecutive MVP awards since Larry Bird from 1984 to 1986.

Grant Hill recalls competing against the original Dream Team

“My head was terrible” – Grant Hill shares a funny story about his bad haircut before historic college 1991 Final Four

Grant Hill talks about how his infamous haircut prevents him from watching his old Duke highlights

January 26, 2023; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic twists his ankle during the game against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Footprint Center

Troubles in Dallas? – Luka Doncic leaves the game early with left ankle sprain

There's still no timetable for Doncic's return after he suffered a twisted ankle in a 99-95 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Michael Jordan

"I'll bring back some laughter to this team" — Michael Jordan was the Bulls' funny guy before he became its tyrant

Before the All-Star Break in the 1985-86 season, the Chicago Bulls had a poor 17-34 record. The young Michael Jordan wanted to help his team in any way he could.

Why Shaq sold his Auntie Anne’s business: Black people don’t like Pretzels

"I didn't want to be greatest" — Shaquille O'Neal on the sneaky reason why he didn't aim to be the GOAT during his playing days

Shaquille O'Neal planned on delivering the most arrogant speech ever if he passed Wilt Chamberlain in points.

Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Delonte West (13) tries to dribble around Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20)

"I didn't think it was going to be that steep" — Delonte West's honest thoughts on giving Gordon Hayward a wet willie

A closer look at the incident reveals Delonte West actually gave Gordon Hayward a dry willie.

TNT anchor Kenny Smith introduces Team Shaq general manager Shaquille O'Neal and Team Chuck general manager Charles Barkley

“I never feel in competition with those guys” - Kenny Smith reveals why he, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley are a perfect fit on TV

Kenny Smith recently dived into why the brother hood between himself, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley manifests itself on the big screen