Skip to main content

"Us older big guys don’t look at it as evolving" -- Shaq on today's big men


"I like being proved wrong," Shaquille O'Neal said. "So my message to these young cats, when I say something -- prove me wrong."

This is how Shaq rationalized his criticism of today's NBA players, unveiling he too had to deal with it during his playing days - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the loudest Shaq critic. And while no one doubted Kareem's benevolence, the same can't be said about O'Neal. Especially when he's talking about modern NBA big men - his appearance on the "Scoop B Radio Podcast" was no different.

The game is evolving. Us older big guys don’t look at it as evolving. We look at it as soft because guys don’t want to get down there and bang. Which is okay.

Shaquille O'Neal, Scoop B Radio Podcast

Shaq might've said he's okay with it, but there's a long track record of him disrespecting today's centers. And he's not the only one. So many former NBA players, especially big men, have a problem with seven-footers turning into outside shooters. We're almost a decade into the 3-point era, and they still can't wrap their minds around it.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

New era new generation, I can’t tell them how to play. I can’t tell them what to do.

Shaquille O'Neal, Scoop B Radio Podcast

The evolution of big men is a by-product of the whole game gravitating more and more towards the three-point line. That's a thing Shaq needs to understand; the seven-footers didn't initiate the change; they are simply doing their best to adapt.

That's not to say he's wrong to call someone out for refusing to "get down there and bang" when it's necessary. Because the fact of the matter is, we see something like that happen more often than it should - Anthony Davis refusing to play the five is the obvious example.

That's the main source of O'Neal's frustration; seeing guys with unmatched physical gifts not utilizing them properly and embracing the finesse game instead. Because no matter the era, overpowering defenders works - Giannis' decision to play to his strengths led the Bucks to a championship.

So put yourself in Shaq's shoes; you're one of the most dominant forces in NBA history, and you've made a living out of overpowering guys in the paint. A decade later, your successors, who were blessed with similar physical gifts, refuse to follow your lead. Would you be frustrated? Especially when you have an all-time great resume to back up your words? I would.

Let's just hope someone will actually listen to Shaq and initiate the return of traditional post-up play. Nothing against the three-point era, but the game could definitely use some variety.

Willy Hernangomez says Zion Williamson is on a mission this season

Willy Hernangomez offers a frightening take on Zion Williamson ahead of this season -“He wants to destroy everybody”

Hernangomez said Williamson "wants to destroy everybody" in his return to the court after missing the entire 2021-22 season

James Harden said that his explosiveness is getting there after it was noticeably absent during his stint with the Sixers last season

James Harden and his quest to regain his explosiveness for the Philadelphia 76ers: "It's getting there"

Harden clearly wasn't himself during his first few months with the 76ers, but the good news is that he believes his explosiveness is getting back to what it used to be

Dirk Nowitzki at the 1998 Nike Hoop Summit

"Between practices I had to get tutoring in a separate room" - Dirk Nowitzki used to bring a tutor with him while traveling with Germany's junior national team

Dirk Nowitzki revealed that he had to bring a private tutor with him during his days with Germany's junior national team as he had to play and study at the same time.

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson

"Are you willing to come back and be a coachable player?"-How Phil Jackson talked to Kobe Bryant before they reunited in 2006

The time Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson spent apart from each other made them realize that they needed each other to accomplish their goals.

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky outearns several NBA players

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky is closer to making a million each year than some NBA players on minimum contracts.


“I know he’s a great locker room guy!”- Ben Wallace believes Darvin Ham will do great things with the Lakers

Darvin Ham and Ben Wallace won a title together and their bond will forever remain tight.

Reggie Miller doing the choke sign

Reggie Miller on talking to New York Knicks fans: 'They love to come up and do the choke sign. They think it’s so cool'

Reggie Miller said most Knicks fans still hate him and they let him know about it by doing doing his iconic choke taunt in 1995.