A war of words between Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has escalated after the NBA legend criticized the French international.
Shaq was asked earlier in the week on his podcast about the Jazz needing to break up Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. He responded by saying that one would need to go and that despite Gobert being a fantastic defender, he “offers nothing on the offensive end”.
Shaq was interrupted by one of his co-hosts, Anthony “Spice” Adams, who claimed that Gobert could hold Shaq to 12 points.
“Twelve points? Yeah, in the first three minutes,” Shaq responded. “Let me tell you something, man. It’s against my religion for somebody to hold me one-on-one. I take that personally. I do.”
O’Neal went on: “You know what I’m going to do to him? He’s a shot blocker. You can’t shoot a shot. You’ve got to back his little skinny ass up under the rim. Show him the ‘bow so he gets scared and just go up.”
The comment didn’t go unnoticed by Gobert who responded on Instagram, “I would lock his ass up.”
After hearing Gobert’s comments, Shaq doubled down on his claims saying, “I wonder what French barbecue chicken tastes like… Like I said, I’m backing his little skinny ass down. I’m throwing a bow, and I’m dunking.”
Gobert is no stranger to Shaq’s criticism. In January 2021 Shaq took aim at the All-Star over his $205 million contract extension.
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” Shaq said on the All Things Covered podcast. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get 200 million.”
Later that week Shaq uploaded a photoshopped photo of him dunking on Gobert with the caption ““I would had 45 pts 16 rebound ten missed free throws in three quarters. He woulda had 11 pts four rebounds and fouled out in 3 quarters.”
Gobert responded back then by saying “There is no beef” between the two.
It seems however Shaq is going to continue to stir the pot when it comes to Rudy Gobert. While we’ll never get to see a matchup between the two, we can always rely on statistics. With a career average of 23.7 points per game, Shaq is by far the superior offensive player of the two considering Gobert put up 15.6 points per game in his best scoring season. Defensively O’Neal beats out Gobert with 66.4 defensive win shares versus 37.9 defensive win shares.
But could Gobert really lock Shaq’s ass up? That’s one question we’ll never know the answer to.