Rudy Gobert was all class after Shaquille O’Neal took a cheap shot on Instagram.
The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar, four-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star is undoubtedly one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game, not to mention a top-15 player in the history of the league. So why does he feel the need to keep tearing down every notable big man in the game today?
After Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert received a five-year, $205 million extension, many questioned the value of such a massive deal, but Shaq took it a step further, telling the All Things Covered podcast, “I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there. You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.”
He then took it a step further, posting an edit of himself dunking on Gobert on his Instagram with the following caption: “I would had 45 pts 16 rebound ten missed free throws in three quarters. He woulda had 11 pts four rebounds and fouled out in 3 quarters. I’m a G.”
Okay … cool story, bro?
Rudy Gobert’s response to Shaq was much classier
Despite the unsolicited cheap shot, Gobert was all class in his response:
There is no beef. 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. I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And i’m gonna keep beating the odds. https://t.co/l241ZQ2Qk4
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) January 4, 2021
While the Stifle Tower called out anyone who questioned his value in Utah, he also tried to squash the beef, pointing out the obvious that Shaq is attacking him for no reason and he personally has no issue with the Lakers legend.
This is nothing new for Shaq, of course. He’s repeatedly attacked Dwight Howard‘s game and character as an analyst, especially during Howard’s prime with the Orlando Magic and Lakers because he felt threatened by the rise of a new superstar center who just so happened to play for the same franchises.
The funny thing is, Shaq didn’t really need to worry about the new Superman, since Howard never reached the heights of team or individual success that O’Neal did in his playing career. But whether it’s Howard, Gobert, poor JaVale McGee or even Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shaq is always hammering current players who are anywhere near his height or playing position.
It’s an aggravating stance to take, since Shaq is, by all accounts, a very generous and likable person otherwise. If he’s worried about his legacy being threatened by the likes of Rudy Gobert, he should take a step back and realize that if he were to be a mentor to these prominent big men, it might enhance his reputation and his standing, making it even more unlikely he’d ever be forgotten — which was already an impossibility for one of the greatest players to ever live.