If you thought the beef between Shaq and Dwight Howard was over, you were wrong.
A couple of weeks ago, the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA championship in franchise history after defeating the Miami Heat in six games. While Anthony Davis got the majority of the attention for winning his first title, Dwight Howard also holds that distinction. It was a long time coming for the big man, but if you thought he’d receive praise from one of his biggest critics in Shaquille O’Neal, you’re dead wrong.
During the latest episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, O’Neal blasted Howard for going on Instagram Live and giving a motivational speech when, in his mind, he contributed nothing to their championship. O’Neal called Howard a “frontrunner” and a “bandwagon jumper.” Take a listen to O’Neal’s epic rant for yourself.
Shaq is not impressed with Howard’s first championship
O’Neal has never been a fan of Howard, and it apparently started during the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest, where the younger big man adopted a Superman moniker. That didn’t sit well with Shaq, who is a notable fanatic of the “Man of Steel,” seeing it as some sort of nickname infringement.
The veteran would continue to harp on Howard over his previous lack of an NBA championship ring, as compared to his four titles. Howard was viewed as the next Shaq at the start of his career with the Orlando Magic, but he fell off the proverbial cliff following his first stint with the Lakers that lasted all of one season in LA. From there, Howard became more of a role player in his successive tenures with the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards.
Howard did sign with the Lakers last summer with the goal of winning a championship. While he wasn’t a high-impact starter, he was a quality option off the bench. Throughout the bubble playoffs in Orlando, D-12 averaged 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game while shooting 68.4 percent from the field.
Howard posted his emotional speech as a motivation for others to follow their dreams, because they can eventually come to fruition. Unfortunately, the kind-hearted message was met with irritation by O’Neal, who felt Howard didn’t do enough to deserve his win.