Shaquille O’Neal Claims Superstar Russell Westbrook Is ‘A Role Player’ for LeBron James Led Lakers

Published 10/20/2021, 5:30 PM EDT
Oct 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee (1) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports


Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook. It was a bold move, and they were hoping it would take them one step closer to the organization’s 18th title. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis already on board, Westbrook’s game will demand immense adjustments.

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What has been under scrutiny, however, is Westbrook’s debut with the team. The Lakers faced the Golden Warriors in their opening match, losing 121-114. Westbrook scored only 8 points, going 4-of-13 from the field.


Everyone has been speaking of Westbrook playing for the Lakers. This includes Shaquille O’Neal, who recently gave his opinion on Westbrook and his role with the team.

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Shaquille O’Neal’s opinion on Russell Westbrook role for the Lakers

In a recent interview with Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal spoke about James, the Lakers team, and Westbrook. As far as O’Neal is concerned, the 2017 NBA MVP is a role player with the Lakers.

“They still need role players, right?” O’Neal said. “I see Russ as a role player, a damned good one, but he’s a role player”. He added that ‘it’s LeBron first’, then Davis, and then Westbrook. It’s certainly a bold call by the former Lakers star.

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While speaking of James, O’Neal highlighted that he should be looking to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in scoring. James is currently ranked third behind Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. If he keeps up a 25-point average for the upcoming two seasons, he’ll surpass Abdul-Jabbar, eventually.

Of course, another focus for the team and James will be another title. However, Westbrook, Davis, and James all need to work seamlessly with support from the remaining roster to beat the competition this season. If one includes the preseason games, the Lakers have now lost seven in a row.

Oct 19, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dunks a ball during the second half of the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. The Warriors won 121-114. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James on Westbrook’s debut

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Despite that, the team remains positive. After the loss against the Warriors, James advised Westbrook to go home and relax so he can put a smile on his face. Westbrook did seem frustrated by the result and his teammates rushed to support him. “He’s so hard on himself. I told him, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s one game.'”

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The Lakers will face the Phoenix Suns next on October 22, 10:00 PM EST.

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Devika

429 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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