Shaquille O’Neal Digs Up “The Letter Of The Law” To Justify Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Agony After Unusual Debacle Vs Pacers

Published 12/14/2023, 7:39 PM EST

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Since the In-Season Tournament, the Indiana Pacers have become the league’s latest Cinderella story. Whether it was crowd-pleasing hoops or refreshing intensity, the Pacers team has become a joy to watch. However, against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, they might have bitten off more than they could chew. A story that continues to reach a fever pitch has brought about reactions from every corner of the NBA fandom. So, naturally, Shaquille O’Neal had to give his verdict on the matter.

According to the big man, the Greek Freak’s mini tantrum and demand for the ball are justified. Talking to TMZ, the Hall of Famer had this to say. “By the letter of the law…If you’re playing at home, you should get the ball if something spectacular happens.” With Antetokounmpo reaching a new career and franchise record high, the ‘something spectacular’ portion made sense alright.


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The entire incident took on a life of its own during the two teams’ first matchup since the IST. While the game was relatively close for a while, the 2x MVP’s offensive explosion was the difference maker. Despite custom tradition, however, he did not receive the game ball for his historical night. As a result, the Greek native was understandably upset, pointing fingers at the organization and its staff. With a heated exchange and comments at the post-game press conference as well, it could give rise to a genuine rivalry between the divisional opponents.

However, the Indiana Pacers weren’t completely out of line either. Despite the 64-point explosion from Giannis, their choice for the game-ball recipient instead went to a rookie. Oscar Tshiebwe, moving to the States from the Dominican Republic of Congo, scored his first basket in the game. As a result, his claim to the game ball, too, was justifiable. Despite getting the ball, the 2021 NBA Champion was not satisfied.

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The tale of the game ball courtesy Giannis Antetokounmpo


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The game had been chippy throughout. Whether it was hard fouls or even extreme reactions from Giannis’ brother Thanasis, it was shaping up to be a feisty environment. But then, Giannis not getting the game ball set the trigger off.

USA Today via Reuters

While he did eventually return with a basketball in hand, he thinks it isn’t the game ball. During the post-game press conference, Antetokounmpo made that sentiment perfectly clear. Even though an overreaction to some extent, this tussle continues to bring some much-needed intensity into the NBA regular season.


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Do you agree with Shaquille O’Neal? Who do you think was in the right? Giannis or the Pacers? Let us know in the comments below.


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One take at a time

My earliest memories of a connection to basketball was through its popularity in my school. Eventually, that gave way to a genuine passion for the sport and the rest, is history. Whether it be gameplay, the tactics, the narratives, or the sheer art on display, the game speaks to me in a way few other things can.
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Pragya Vashisth