‘They Won’t Go Far’: Shaquille O’Neal Warns the Lakers Towards a Culture Problem

Published 10/29/2021, 9:45 PM EDT
Oct 26, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) talks to forward Anthony Davis (3) from the bench in the first half of the game against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports


The Lakers are clearly not in a good shape. Thanks to their cold performance, a 1-4 (preseason) and 0-3 winless team, OKC, won their first game of the regular season. This exposed one of the most highly valued NBA teams to harsh criticism and a former Laker in Shaquille O’Neal jumped in to give his wise suggestion.

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Without LeBron James on the floor, the Lakers somehow managed to beat the Spurs, but they squandered against the Thunder. A lot of it had to do with Russ’s ejection but the greater issue is still their lack of chemistry.

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Shaquille O’Neal’s take on Anthony Davis vs Dwight Howard

During the Lakers’ loss to the Suns, stars Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into a nasty altercation on the bench. This small incident was perhaps the hint towards a bigger problem that’s eating the Lake Show. Indeed, the champion squad on paper is still not a unity on the floor.

In a recent interview, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal agreed that things are workable and under control, but spoke words of caution. The 49-YO expressed, “No there’s not a bigger issue. It was just something that happened childishly on court. But it’s not big. You want to do something, do it. But you don’t wanna mess with AD and LeBron… You’re either the bus driver or rider. If you’re riding the bus, you ain’t got no say. He’s a role player now, he’s not the guy.”

Oct 3, 2021; Dwight Howard slaps hands with LeBron James before the start of the Lakers preseason game with the Nets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Many would think that these comments are coming from Shaq’s own beef with Mr. Superman, but he did make sense. 

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What should the Lakers do from here?

Although it’s just the season’s start and going 2-3 is not bad after a 0-6 preseason, the Lake Show must soon figure its way. The WC is highly competitive and they would not want to go anywhere below the Top Three teams, given their squad’s competence. 

As Shaq added, “They just have to figure out. On paper, whoo Laker Laker. But, they’re basically a new team. You got to put the pieces together, you got to play together, you got to figure each other out… But on most teams, there are only two bus drivers, everybody else are just role players. If they don’t accept that, they won’t go far.”

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So, the star duo must work out a concrete strategy with coach Frank Vogel about leadership when they’re not on the court. This might keep things in perspective and help them against self-harming their way to frustrating losses. 

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Do you have anything to add in the suggestions to the Lakers? The comment box below is waiting for you.

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Sourabh Singh

1739 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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