Shaquille O’Neal made headlines on Thursday night after an egregiously awkward interview with Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
After his team secured a solid 129-118 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Mitchell stepped up to do an interview with the TNT crew.
This is the question he was greeted with from O’Neal: “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,” he began. “I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?”
A befuddled Mitchell clearly didn’t know what to do with that.
“Alright. … That’s it,” he replied.
This exchange between Shaq and Spida 👀
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 22, 2021
After the interview went viral, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers took to Instagram to address what had transpired.
— Rod Bridgers (@rod_bridgers) January 22, 2021
It’s not hard to see why people took issue with not only the way O’Neal presented his question, but also the substance of it.
Mitchell is currently having the best year of his career, averaging 24.3 points and shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. Beyond that, the Jazz are 11-4 and in second place behind the Lakers in the Western Conference. What more should he be doing?
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
O’Neal is an interesting guy. He is an objectively amazing legend of the game, but his off-the-court behavior leaves a lot to be desired. This was clear when a series of explicit text messages came out between him and a special lady friend, and when he talked about policing his daughters’ dating habits, and when he offered his most recent commentary on Dwight Howard.
Regardless of how you feel about him, O’Neal’s act is clearly wearing thin with multiple people – including members of the NBA family. Will there ultimately be any repercussions? Time will tell.