‘Wouldn’t Use the D-Word’: Shaquille O’Neal Feels 76ers Star Joel Embiid Is Not a Dominant Player Yet

Published 10/07/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: Shaquille O’Neal appears to promote “Toys for Tots” during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)


Four-time All-Star Joel Embiid has been with the Sixers for the past seven seasons. He suffered from injuries during his initial years in Philadelphia and missed two seasons due to that. But Embiid is known for bouncing back from setbacks and is often referred to as one of the most dominant players in the NBA. However, Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t think so.

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Shaquille O’Neal himself was undeniably an absolute commanding presence during his professional career. He played for six different teams in the NBA and won four NBA championships. Shaq has banks of experience from his playing career and has appeared in several shows as an analyst.

Feb 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after a foul call during the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq recently argued that Sixers star Joel Embiid isn’t among the most dominant players in the NBA, something that is surely up for debate.

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Shaquille O’Neal feels Joel Embiid isn’t a dominant player

Shaquille O’Neal recently appeared in an interview on Sports Illustrated’s YouTube channel. During the interview, he talked about the Ben Simmons situation and the Sixers. He also reacted to Joel Embiid saying that he’s going to shoot more three-pointers this season.

“Good for him. I hope it works for him. But when you’re talking as a great player, it’s only two lists you can be on. Good luck with that. And especially when you play against the teams that are more timely like Brooklyn and Milwaukee. You know if you’re hot it works, but if you’re not hot, what’s your go-to plan,” Shaq told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Then, Mannix said that Sixers star Joel Embiid is one of the most dominant players of this generation. To this, Shaq replied, “I wouldn’t use the d-word. He’s pretty good. Really, good. But I would like but I would not use the d-word.”

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Chris Mannix then said that the ‘d-word’ should be reserved for a select-few players. Shaq agreed, saying, “Exactly”.

In today’s era, the top shooters in the NBA are the most dominant in the NBA. However, earlier during the 1990s and 2000s, the centers used to dominate the game. Shaquille O’Neal dominated the game both offensively and defensively. Apart from Shaq, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are some of the most dominant of the past four decades.

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Last season was the personal best for Joel Embiid. He averaged 28.5 PPG, 10.6 TRB, and 2.8 APG. He even posted his playoff career-high of 40 points against the Atlanta Hawks last season. Embiid signed a four-year extension with the Sixers during the off-season.

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Abhishek Singh

208 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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