Shaquille O’Neal has been in the headlines all week for reasons he likely would rather not be in the headlines for. Most of it stems from his incessant need to be petty and bitter with the NBA’s younger players, constantly claiming that they are not as good as people think or not better than he was.
On Thursday, as O’Neal was once again reverting back to his now-trademark hating form, his NBA on TNT partner Charles Barkley assigned a new nickname to him: Petty White.
Charles Barkley – “And just for the record you couldn’t play in today’s game… because they shoot threes you wouldn’t even get in the game today.
— Edilson J. Silva 🇨🇦 🏀 (@ejsilvaBB) January 22, 2021
“Rudy Gobert would dominate you,” he said. “We don’t call him Shaquille O’Neal. We call him Petty White around here.”
“Petty White” is obviously a play on the name “Betty White,” the legendary 99-year-old actress who is beloved by one and all.
Earlier this week, O’Neal stirred up controversy when he participated in an extremely awkward interview of Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
“I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players, but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level,” O’Neal told Mitchell after he scored 34 points in 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?”
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 21, 2021
“Aight. … That’s it,” a befuddled Mitchell replied.
After the fact, multiple players around the NBA came to Mitchell’s defense — including LeBron James and Kevin Durant. They pointed out that he was having the best statistical year of his career, and that the Jazz were having a great season atop the Western Conference.
As was made clear when one of his female friends leaked some pretty explicit text messages, O’Neal’s demeanor is something of an acquired taste. You either really enjoy it or very much hate it – and people are increasingly seeming to hate it.