Shaquille O'Neal was recently very critical towards some of the NBA's younger players like Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and James Harden. He was never afraid to share his thoughts about specific topics, and it seems he's lately put his focus on the younger players, and it backlashed big time. Many fans on social media described Shaq as a bitter old man and have valid reasons for making that statement. Shaq even went that far to go after a person on Instagram who photoshopped Donovan Mitchell dunking on him.
A certain percentage of older players like Shaq often like to bash and disrespect younger players, but it's been like that forever in the NBA. If you think Shaq was tough, you would think the late great NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain was even worse, and he had a lot of criticism towards Michael Jordan the most out of all the players in the NBA at that time.
In 1997, two years before he passed away, Wilt published a book ''Who's Running the Asylum?: Inside the Insane World of Sports Today' in which he predominantly talks about what went wrong with all major sports in the US during those times. In a few excerpts of his book, Wilt talks about how Michael Jordan's impact on the game is exceptionally overrated and how he is the NBA product and, because of that, gets a lot of benefits others didn't have the privilege to have.
We highlighted a few of his quotes from the book that diminishes Jordan and showcases what he thought of the NBA in the '90s and how things were better back in the good old days.
Michael and others are totally incorrect if they believe he is the best.
If MJ were to go one-on-one against certain of today's quality players, he could be destroyed.
Watching MJ in action, I have the feeling that he is able to cast some kind of spell over his defenders, turning them into matadors who curtsy and wave as he goes by
If MJ had not won three championships in a row, he might be seen as just an individualist and selfish-type of a basketball player.
Although Michael puts the ball through the hoop in such a way that he is given 31 points per game, some of those points are fabricated.
Michael's ability to get the better end of every call diminishes team sports in general.
Wilt Chamberlain, via Who's Running the Asylum?: Inside the Insane World of Sports Today
Wilt was very hard and critical towards the way the game was being played in the '80s and the '90s and believed the league made it easier for some players to score by changing the rules. That predominantly implied to Jordan, but even though Wilt was critical towards him, he also had a lot of respect for him, saying he is one reason NBA and basketball became famous worldwide. Wilt was an intelligent thinker who recognized the NBA's evolution, which started moving from dominant centers to a guard-driven league. Like Wilt, Shaq was perhaps the last dominant big man and tended to provoke younger centers in the NBA and some of the guards.
That type of behavior is unique for every generation. There is always a specific group of players who will say things were better before, while others respect and acknowledge everything the younger generation is doing. It's been like that several decades ago, and it's the same now, except now everyone has a platform to share their opinion and be heard by million followers globally. That obviously can put them in a spotlight fast, which inherently brings a lot of negativity, just like Shaq was a few days ago.