Shaquille O’Neal rips Lakers players in wake of LeBron James’ comments
Shaquille O’Neal has thrown his support behind LeBron James amid the controversy surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers superstar’s recent comments about his teammates.
Addressing the situation during Tuesday night’s NBA coverage on TNT, O’Neal challenged Lakers players to “step up” after James seemingly did the same following Monday’s brutal loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Shaq shares his thoughts on the Lakers chemistry after the trade deadline. #PlayersOnly pic.twitter.com/FH6z7o9fQ6— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 27, 2019
“Look, I was traded six times,” O’Neal said. “I never cried about it. You move on. It’s the business of basketball. If you want to be a guy who doesn’t get traded, you’ve got to step up. Period.”
As noted, James seemed to question his teammates’ resolve after Monday’s loss, alluding to the challenges of competing for a postseason berth. This came amid the fallout of the Anthony Davis trade talks that were said to have left several Lakers players shaken. James specifically invoked the term “distractions” to describe what appears to be plaguing the Lakers.
Lakers’ LeBron James after loss to Grizzlies (via @SpectrumSN): “If you’re still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come in and be like, ‘Listen, I can’t do this.’” pic.twitter.com/s3gHiuhODx— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 26, 2019
O’Neal continued his criticism by erroneously noting how he was traded six times during his NBA career — actually three — but never pouted about it.
“It’s no time to sit and sulk,” O’Neal said. “If you don’t want to be traded or you don’t want to be talked about, step up. LeBron is used to playing with guys who hit shots and make him look good. He’s not having that right now.”
It was believed that the Lakers’ youth, while talented and loaded with potential, could be the team’s undoing in a bid to reach the postseason, even with James’ presence. Further, James has hinted his patience could quickly wear thin during his first season in L.A. Monday’s comments seem to reinforce that notion.