O'Neal: "He’s deserved it and he’s earned my respect so I’m giving it to him."

By Michael Shapiro
April 02, 2019

Shaquille O'Neal heaped some serious praise on Giannis Antetokounmpo on Tuesday and said the Bucks' star is "better than me at 24" while appearing on "The Big Podcast With Shaq."

“He’s better and that’s why I gave up my Superman title to him. But you know what? He works hard, he’s a humble kid and works hard," O'Neal said. "He doesn’t just come and show up and expect people to say: ‘Oh, he’s the next one’. This kid actually works and he’s earned it. He’s deserved it and he’s earned my respect so I’m giving it to him. To answer all the questions: ‘You’re right, the kid is better than me at 24."

O'Neal first bestowed the "Superman" nickname on Antetokounmpo in November. Antetokounmpo responded with a career year and averaged 27.4 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The Bucks are first in the East at 58–20.

The former Lakers' star won his lone MVP in 1999-00. Antetokounmpo is among the top-two candidates for MVP, battling Rockets guard James Harden

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