NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t bite his tongue when it comes to critiquing current NBA players, but he may have gone a bit too far this time.
During a recent telecast of the Inside The NBA, Ernie, Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith broke down the Utah Jazz’s 129-118 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Donovan Mitchell had himself a night scoring 36 points shooting an efficient 11-19 from the field, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists.
But that wasn’t enough to impress Shaq, who was ribbing Mitchell the entire night, calling him “just a scorer.” Immediately following the game, Spidamitchell spoke with the crew, and O’Neal said to him:
“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. I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?”
Mitchell wasn’t fazed at all and perfectly responded:
The exchange made for awkward television, and it was just absolutely head-scratching as to why Shaq would even ask Donovan Mitchell that in the first place.
Donovan's response when Shaq tells him he doesn't have what it takes to get to the next level:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2021
When speaking with reporters, Mitchell had more to say Shaq and Charles Barkley — who also had some interesting takes — about the Utah Jazz.
“I hate to take a win like this and make it about what they said about me. Look at how we played, look at how we guarded. I’m happy.”
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) January 22, 2021
Mitchell’s teammate, Mike Conley, came to his defense, adding:
“I’ve been a big fan of Don’s and seeing the way he’s grown, even before he was here. I don’t know how you can make a statement like that regarding his progress at such a young age. He’s gotten better every year.”
Mike Conley, on Shaq's comments about Donovan Mitchell: "I’ve been a big fan of Don’s and seeing the way he’s grown, even before he was here. I don’t know how you can make a statement like that regarding his progress at such a young age. He's gotten better every year."
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) January 22, 2021
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is currently Shaq’s favorite punching bag replacing Dwight Howard due to the large contract the Jazz blessed him with, also chimed in on the hate from Shaq and Chuck.
“At the end of the day, whatever they want to call us, if we keep winning games, they will have to watch us anyway. Hopefully, they have to watch us until July. And then they can call us whatever they want.”
Rudy Gobert on the TNT crew and comments: "At the end of the day, whatever they want to call us, if we keep winning games, they will have to watch us anyway. Hopefully they have to watch us until July. And then they can call us whatever they want."
— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) January 22, 2021
As expected, NBA Twitter also had thoughts, mainly blasting Shaq for his comments.
I don’t get the point of Shaq doing this. At all. It’s really weird. https://t.co/0NN33kcR7C
— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) January 22, 2021
Shaq expected him to debate with him and literally got nothing back 😂. I’m Donovan Mitchell energy for the rest of 2021.
— Jerm (@IamJerm24) January 22, 2021
We see no lies detected here.
You can peep more reactions to Shaq playing himself in the gallery below.
NBA Twitter Reacts To Shaq Telling Donovan Mitchell He Can't Take His Game To The "Next Level"
1 of 10
Donovan Mitchell is a yearly all star calibre guard who is a truly elite scoring talent— Stevie Wonder1369 (@wonder1369) January 22, 2021
if you want to have the conversation about whether or not he's a #1 on a championship team then fine, but not the ideal look during the postgame interview after he drops 36 ahaha
2 of 10
the last thing shaq expected was for mitchell to not give on single solitary damn about his opinion. good for donovan. https://t.co/MPDtI4i8rV— bomani (@bomani_jones) January 22, 2021
3.3 of 10
4 of 10
A young NBA player exists:— BMoneyy🚀🏀(ifb) (@BMoneyy26) January 22, 2021
5 of 10
No disrespect to Shaq but he makes all these demands on young players to get better but not one time have I ever seen him extend the olive branch and offer to help a guy work on their game. It’s always “I expect domination (or some unrealistic stat line)”— The Anonymous Nobody (@el_budget) January 22, 2021
6.6 of 10
7 of 10
Ernie: “you’re a talented young man.”— Scam Allardyce (@Nigerianscamsss) January 22, 2021
Kenny: “you’re great kid, you remind me of my teammate with the Knicks.”
Charles Barkley: “I played for the Fennit Sunz”
8 of 10
I thought Shaq would’ve scaled back after the whole embarrassing Nikola Jokic/Russian fiasco but NOPE—— Duvalier Johnson (@DuvalierJohnson) January 22, 2021
He doubled down. https://t.co/lJf2Ykg102
9 of 10
I love Shaq as much as the next fan. But c'mon man.. that was cold putting Mitchell on the spot with that kind of criticism in a post-gamer. Good on Spida for taking it as motivation.— Kara Wagland (@Kara_Wagland) January 22, 2021
10.10 of 10
Photo: Alex Goodlett / Getty
Utah Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell Had The Perfect Response To Shaq Hating On His Game was originally published on cassiuslife.com