Shaquille O’Neal Responds to Russell Westbrook’s Criticisms, Says Every Great Player Including Michael Jordan ‘Had to Go Through This’

Published 04/04/2021, 1:30 AM EDT
Mar 29, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after a three point basket against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


Russell Westbrook has been making multiple headlines this week. The 32-year-old has been on a tear recently and has had four triple doubles in a row.

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One of them was a historic triple double against the Pacers where Brodie had an insane performance with 35 points. 21 assists and 14 rebounds, becoming the first player ever in NBA history to put up a triple double with at least 35 points and 20 assists in a game.

Dec 31, 2020; Washington, DC, USA; Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards celebrates after making a three pointer against the Chicago Bulls in the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Carr/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

While fans and fellow players alike were ecstatic with this performance, some pundits like Stephen A. Smith were certainly critical of the 2017 MVP.

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Smith questioned Westbrook’s ability to win a championship despite playing in some historically amazing teams. This understandably didn’t bode well with the 9-time All-Star who later said that he didn’t need a championship for being a great player.

Shaquille O’Neal speaks on the latest criticisms of Russell Westbrook

Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal might have won four championships, but before laying his hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy, Shaq found himself in a similar position as Brodie.

The 3-time Finals MVP spoke about the criticisms on Westbrook in a recent appearance at NBA on TNT. Shaq said, “Unfortunately, in this business, all the greats have to go through this.”

O’Neal also said how players like Michael Jordan and himself had to go through a similar situation before reaching the promise land.

“Everybody had to go through this. Dr. J had to go through this Michael Jordan, Isaiah, Magic, myself, D wade. And you know, D-Wade makes a great point, you don’t have to have a championship to be touted as a great player, but, you know, in this thing of ours, to get that ultimate respect, it would be nice to have that.”

Shaq added, “That’s the unfortunate thing about being in this business. They whoever they is, don’t care that you are averaging triple doubles, ‘Can you win?’ When you are a great player and you putting up great numbers, people always gonna say, ‘but do you have a championship if you don’t get a championship?’

The 50-year-old mentioned some of the greatest players not to have won a championship.

“That’s not a knock like, you can’t tell me Allen Iverson is not one of the greatest point guards. You can’t tell me John Stockton is not one of the greatest.

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“You just can’t tell me called Karl Malone and Charles Barkley are not one of the greatest power forwards. But that’s just the unfortunate thing.”

Dec 29, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after a shot against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

He added, “That’s the only unfortunate thing about this business. But everybody had to go through it. It’s not like we’re picking on him. All the greats and we look at him as a great player. Everybody had to go through this.”

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Westbrook already has had a hall of fame career with 9-All Star appearances, 2-scoring titles and an MVP trophy but is missing the crown jewel that is the NBA championship. Irrespective if he wins it or not, Brodie will remain as one of the most athletic guards to ever play the game.

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Aditya Mohapatra

607 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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