Shaquille O'Neal keeps sights set on Rudy Gobert, shuts down 'best player in NBA' talk

Shaquille O’Neal isn’t giving it up.

The Hall of Famer keeps going with what appears to be his favorite pastime and took another shot at Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert during Thursday night’s “NBA on TNT.” An animated O’Neal took offense to Kenny Smith saying Gobert was one of the best players in the NBA.

“No, he ain’t one of the ... stop it! Hey, stop it. No he’s not,” O’Neal said, standing up in immediate rebuttal like he was about to walk off.

O’Neal has a longstanding beef with Gobert, or at least with people saying the eighth-year veteran is one of the best in the league. He took aim at the star’s new contract on the “All Things Covered” podcast over the weekend.

“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” O’Neal said, via Complex. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get 200 million.”

He reiterated that take for the larger audience on TNT on Thursday.

Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million extension in November. It’s the biggest deal for a center in NBA history.

He is averaging 11.7 points and 11 rebounds over this career. Over the past two seasons he averaged 15.5 points and 13.2 rebounds. But defense doesn’t show easily in a traditional stat sheet, and Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He’s been named to the NBA All-Defensive team four times and led the league in blocks in 2017. NBA coaches have also voted Gobert, alongside Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, as tops in the league on defense.

Despite all of that, O’Neal has apparently taken it upon himself to disparage the 7-foot-1 Gobert at every turn. After Gobert struggled against the Brooklyn NetsJarrett Allen on Tuesday, O’Neal retweeted an account naming him “Baguette Biyombo.”

To Gobert’s credit, he’s ignoring the nonsense.

O’Neal is a four-time NBA champion, a two-time scoring champion and a three-time All-Defensive player. He’s likely salty over the money aspect since his peak salary was approximately $27.7 million in 2004-05 when he averaged 22.9 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Miami Heat.

That’s a far cry from $41 million for half the point production, but it doesn’t mean he actually has to cry about it on national television.

Shaquille O'Neal.
Shaquille O'Neal kept up his beef with Rudy Gobert. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

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