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Shaq and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid have had an interesting relationship over the past few years. Early on, Shaq criticized Embiid for the way he played. Saying he spent too much time on the perimeter and needed to play more in the post. 

That has not been the case this season. After asserting himself into the upper echelon of NBA superstars, Embiid has silenced some of his critics. 

While some still criticize him for missed games, there is no debate about his play. Embiid's dominance from everywhere on the court has most in agreement that he is a generational talent. 

This MVP-level play from Embiid has caused Shaq to continually sing his praises. As most are selecting Denver Nuggets' center Nikola Jokic to win MVP, Shaq has regularly said the award belongs to Embiid. 

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Recently, Shaq was a guest on the 'All The Smoke' podcast with former players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. They would spend most of their time discussing multiple topics of Shaq's career but wrapped up talking about today's players. 

One of the final things Shaq was asked was to list his top five players in the league. The five players he would list were Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Joel Embiid. 

This is not bad company to be in, as these have been some of the faces of the league for the past decade. 

Shaq is not wrong in putting Embiid on his list. He has shown glimpses in recent seasons of what he could become, and this year he has been one of the league's most un-guardable players. 

After years of being on the fence, Shaq looks to be a believer in Embiid finally. The Hall of Fame center can no longer deny how special of a player Embiid truly is. 

Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.