‘He Didn’t Step Up’: Shaquille O’Neal Bashes James Harden for Comments on Houston Rockets

Published 01/15/2021, 1:29 PM EST
DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 13: James Harden (13) of the Houston Rockets has words for a referee during the first half against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, November 13, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Houston Rockets at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


James Harden is finally completing his dream trade away from Houston but not before he caused mayhem in the aftermath of the Rockets’ defeat to the LA Lakers. In the post-match conference, he gave what seemed like a parting statement which included the line “I have done everything I can.” 

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But a certain NBA legend isn’t buying what Harden is selling. And that legend is none other than Inside the NBA’s Shaquille O’Neal,” When you say you gave the City your all, that ain’t true.”

Explaining why he felt that the Beard didn’t give his all, he pointed to his unflattering Playoffs record. The front office surrounded him with all the talent that the former front and center of the franchise demanded. But he couldn’t take them past the finishing line.

“You asking for Dwight Howard, we gave them to you; didn’t work out. You ask for Chris Paul, we gave them to you… Now when you say I gave you everything, I say no you didn’t because the last 5 games when it comes to elimination, you are 1 in 4.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Shaquille O’Neal arrives ahead of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The former Orlando Magic center used to have this same attitude as Harden in his younger days. But it did not last long as his stringent army father straightened him out.

“I used to be like James, I used to come home and complain. And my father used to say, ‘But what the hell did you do? He didn’t do anything. He didn’t step up when he was supposed to step up,” said O’Neal.

All or Nothing for James Harden now

As a 4-time NBA champion, Shaq knows what it is like to win. After all, he was under a lot of pressure to deliver himself when he was plying his trade for the Lakers. Since he feels he has the ‘G-14 classification’ to comment on these sensitive NBA title talks, he said,

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“So, now he’s got his little super team. He has to win this year. If he doesn’t win this year, it’s a bust, Period.”

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Harden just made the Brooklyn Nets the strongest team on paper. Hence, there could be no excuses this time around. Playing with former NBA champs in Durant and Irving, he must deliver what he’s promised to do or see his legacy thrown out the window.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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