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Jason Kidd had tried to keep it subtle, but the Jays smelled it from afar. After all, in their words, it wasn’t their first rodeo. Wondering what we are talking about? Why, it’s nothing more than the Mavs’ coach’s tactic to drive a wedge between the Celtics’ star duo! However, Shaquille O’Neal, who has been in a similar situation, learned how harmful these kinds of comments can be; the hard way.

The former Lakers big man said that worrying about useless titles only serves to inflate one’s ego. However, the moment you forget about them and concentrate on winning, titles come your way. “In my Laker runs, I wasn’t the best player on the team. I knew that, but I knew I was the most dominant. So, I knew my role. I knew what I had to do. I wasn’t worried about these useless titles.”

So if those two young gentlemen are worried about useless titles … it will definitely affect them tonight. … Not only affect this game, but they will lose the series,Shaq concluded on NBA TV GameTime.

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Those are some strong words, especially after one of his controversial top 5 fantasy teams from last year. Then again, if anyone can talk authentically about the experiences and lessons learned while playing, it is the 4x champion, Shaquille O’Neal. The man was a generational talent with a loaded resume that speaks for itself. Not to mention, he played for a Lakers team led by the late Kobe Bryant. The Bryant-O’Neal tandem led the Purple & Gold to 3 rings back-to-back! However, here’s the twist. Back in November, Big Diesel was in Mexico and shockingly did not name Kobe during a promotion.

I would put Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson on guard, Michael Jordan number two, Dr. J number three, Karl Malone as four, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as five,” he said. He then admitted there were great players across decades. “But come on, okay,” he concluded. Moving on, regarded as one of the greatest power forwards of all time, Pau Gasol recounts the job of having to guard the 7’1 behemoth center.

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“It was tough. It was a challenge. His size, strength, his power—it was too much to handle, especially when he wanted to (play).” Note the latter part. Clearly, there was a time when, like the 15x All-Star admitted, where he cared more about “titles” than actually playing. And that must be a reason why there continue to be debates on whether the ‘Big Diesel’ reached his ultimate potential in his 19 years of basketball career. Meanwhile, what exactly was Jason Kidd’s canny move concerning the Boston Celtics?

Kidd wasn’t kidding around when he tried to sow seeds of discord in the Celtics’ locker room

In Kidd’s off-day media availability, he was asked what their game plan was to defend Jaylen Brown. Not missing a beat, the 51-year-old said, “Well, Jaylen’s their best player. He did everything, and that’s what your best player does. Just understanding how to play both sides — defense and offense at a high rate — he’s been doing that the whole playoffs.” 

While it could easily be considered as an appreciative coach admiring the skills of his opponent in good sportsmanship, everyone involved in the basketball business knows better. At the lesser receiving end, Jayson Tatum couldn’t care less. “We’ve been in this position for many years, of guys trying to divide us and say that one of us should be traded, or one is better than the other. So it’s not our first time at the rodeo,” he said.

USA Today via Reuters

Drafted as third picks in consecutive years (JB – 2016 and JT – 2017), Brown and Tatum have run the Boston franchise successfully for seven years now. Younger than Jaylen, Jayson has emerged as the face of the franchise while the former decided to take a backseat.

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While it has worked out in their favor, it could very well have been a total disaster. As Shaquille O’Neal mentioned, there have been many attempts in the past and present that have been directed to disrupt the locker room. Were the men to let the outside noise get to their heads, the ‘Jays era’ would have ended faster than it began! However, Tatum and Brown have stood their ground and worked towards their goal of a ring. “We’ve been just extremely focused on what our roles and our jobs are,” JB said. “Right now, at this point, it’s whatever it takes to win. And we can’t let any outside interpretations try to get in between us,” the 3x All-Star reiterated.

But before you go, be sure to check this video of Leonardo Armato’s take on Caitlin Clark vs Angel Reese.

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