Shaquille O’Neal gave high praise to four of the NBA’s best on his Instagram story recently, and a certain LA Clipper made the cut.
On Friday, O’Neal reposted an image, originally from the account “Hot Freestyle,” of Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry, with the caption “the only players in the league with nothing left to prove.”
It is worth noting that O’Neal did not create the graphic himself, and did not caption the re-post, so it is unclear if he believes there are other players in the league whom he also believes have nothing left to prove.
Every championship team of the last decade has featured one of the four players, with James winning four rings, Curry three, Leonard two and Antetokounmpo earning his first title earlier this summer.
O’Neal, a four-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat (who loves to tout this fact at the expense of the ringless Charles Barkley on Inside the NBA) seems to value rings over everything. By this logic, a notable exclusion would be one Kevin Durant, who won two championships with the Golden State Warriors.
Leonard, along with James, has won titles with multiple teams. He’s helped the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors to titles, and is currently in pursuit of a championship with the Clippers. James is currently the only player to have won Finals MVP with three different franchises (Heat, Cavaliers, Lakers).
Though O’Neal believes Leonard has already accomplished all he needed to, Leonard himself still seems to want to prove something (whether it be to himself or others). Though he will likely miss most of the 2021-22 season while recovering from ACL surgery, he’s been vocal since signing with the Clippers: his goal is to win a title in LA, his home city.