HILARIOUS: NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal Mistakes Nikola Jokic to be Russian

Published 01/15/2021, 5:30 AM EST
Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood (35) in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


Shaquille O’Neal was one of the greatest centers in the history of the NBA. During his storied career, Shaq won four NBA championships, including a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. Since he retired, O’Neal has been a consistent presence on the TNT panel covering the NBA, delivering hilarious moments. He has now given another such moment with Nikola Jokic.

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Shaq makes a hilarious mistake

Shaq had a moment of genuine comedy tonight. After the Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors, Nikola Jokic spoke to the TNT panel. Shaq praised Jokic and then spoke a few words in Russian to Jokic. Jokic cleverly pointed out to him that he was Serbian and not Russian. The panel erupted into laughter, and Shaq remarked “I thought he was Russian”.

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O’Neal has been one of the highlights on TNT. The chemistry he has with his fellow panelists, especially with Charles Barkley, has made for some incredibly funny and entertaining moments. Shaq has shined in his post-basketball career as an NBA analyst. He delivers insightful analysis while also making the sport entertaining for fans.

Meanwhile, Jokic came off another excellent game with the Nuggets. The Serb center put up another triple-double as he led the Nuggets to victory against the Golden State Warriors. Throughout the season, Jokic has averaged a triple-double. While the Nuggets are not playing to the best of their abilities, Jokic has been their one consistent performer who always gives them a chance.

Nikola Jokic – The best big man in the NBA?

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Jokic is a center that is different from any other that has been seen before. Jokic is not like Shaq, who used his power and athleticism to dominate everyone. Rather, Jokic’s biggest weapon is actually his passing. He passes the ball excellently, almost better than any big man that has ever played the game. And his passing allows his teammates to play even better.

Dec 23, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) attempts a shot as Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica (8) and forward Harrison Barnes (40) defend in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jokic is a big man with a point guard’s passing game. That is a rare combination that can prove lethal if he has the right players around him. And last year, his passing was key to the Nuggets’ incredible playoff run to the Western Conference finals.

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Can the Nuggets reach the Western Conference Finals again? If Jokic plays his best basketball, Denver will have a legitimate chance to once again reach the pinnacle in the playoffs.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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