The Big Diesel was an absolute force when he played in the NBA. He managed to win four titles, even when many pundits and players wondered aloud how many more he could have won had he been more serious with playing basketball. Obviously, he hasn’t been out of the limelight since retiring. He has a seat at the table with the most popular NBA television medium with ‘Inside the NBA’. Fans and players alike still look at what he says as impactful.
After Rudy Gobert signed a five-year $205 million extension, O’Neal took a shot at the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner.
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there. You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.”
Last season during a postgame interview with Utah teammate Donovan Mitchell, O’Neal had this awkward exchange with the 25-year-old.
O’Neal has never shied away from confrontation, but last season it definitely looks like he was going out of his way to throw shade at the Utah Jazz.
Interestingly, O’Neal has seemed to soften his hate towards the Jazz. Recently on ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A Smith asked him which team would pose as the biggest threat to the Lakers in the Western Conference, and the Big Aristotle surprised many.
Vegas oddsmakers currently has Utah as the fourth best odds for a Western Conference team to win the 2022 title at +1600. Along with the Lakers, the Warriors and defending Western Conference champion Suns, are currently ahead of the Jazz according to the bookmakers.
With Utah returning with most of the same roster, it is surprising O'Neal has changed course with the team, and likes their chances this season. The Jazz certainly have the firepower to match the talented Lakers, but it will be a tall order for them to beat LeBron James four out of seven games.