Rudy Gobert is swatting away any chatter about him engaging in a battle with one of the NBA’s greatest players.
The Jazz star took to Twitter on Monday to address a social media shot from Shaquille O’Neal, who has a history of ripping current big men. The Hall of Famer shared an Instagram post with his 18 million followers showing a prime Shaq dunking all over Gobert. Subtle!
In the Instagram caption, O’Neal claims he would have totaled 45 points and 16 rebounds in three quarters against Gobert, adding that “The Stifle Tower” would have fouled out with only 11 points and four rebounds. (A funny side note: Even in this hypothetical matchup, Shaq believes he would miss 10 free throws.)
A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq)
Gobert saw a screenshot of the post on Twitter and chose to take the high road, saying there is “no beef” between him and O’Neal.
“If people wanna keep speaking negatively about me or keep discrediting what I do it’s on them and all that does is show who they are,” Gobert tweeted. “I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And I’m gonna keep beating the odds.”
O’Neal’s diss came only days after he mocked the Jazz and Gobert for reaching an agreement on a five-year, $205 million contract extension.
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” O’Neal said on the “All Things Covered” podcast. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.”
That number refers to Gobert’s career average of 11.7 points per game, though it should be noted the 28-year-old has steadily improved offensively, averaging more than 15 points per game in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Gobert is obviously not on the same level as O’Neal — that’s an extremely high bar — but he is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year known for his top-notch rim protection and rebounding skills.
Utah’s front office viewed Gobert as a franchise cornerstone along with Donovan Mitchell, so the Jazz offered him a lucrative deal. They don’t have an incredible history of landing impact players in free agency, so the fear of losing him next summer with no replacement option was real. Sure, it’s a big number. It also costs money to build a consistent winner, and the economics of the NBA have changed greatly since O’Neal’s playing days.
Gobert has already secured the bag and can never prove he would be able to reject O’Neal at the rim. He would be wise to focus on his game and ignore O’Neal. An online argument with Shaq will only lead to more posts.
Just ask JaVale McGee.
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