Forgiveness Is In the Air as Shaquille O’Neal’s Beef With Dwight Howard Comes to Abrupt End

Published 01/19/2024, 11:56 PM EST

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As much as it looked on the outside, there’s no bitterness between Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. Despite the constant arguments and oneupmanship over the Superman status, these big men have moments of mutual admiration for each other. Shaq attempted to bury the hatchet for good during his appearance on Trae Young’s From the Point podcast. Steel Man responded in kind.

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He wrote on X, “I never had a problem with you so can we finally end this as adults.” He didn’t name names, but it’s clear who he means. His followers also loved his respectful response to O’Neal.

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Howard probably keeps track of Shaq’s many media appearances because this response came almost immediately after O’Neal’s truce. “If I mention your name, it means I love and respect you,” O’Neal said, referring to all the times he was hard on Howard. “I used to love Dwight. He did something I couldn’t. I wish I could jump that high. I love Dwight Howard.”

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He also explained his brand of tough love that even players like Victor Wembanyama are enduring currently. “As a big brother, I ain’t gonna let my little brother slide, because I want you to be better than me. A lot of people don’t understand this thing of ours, they think it’s just hate. Nah, it ain’t hate. I’m telling you how to get there. You know I’m here, dawg.” 

Howard is clearly acknowledging that their spats stemmed from a brotherly relationship. It paints a very different picture of what the public has seen.

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Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard’s back-and-forth

The Big Aristotle and D-12 have been at each other’s throats many times. When Howard was playing in Taiwan, Shaq ripped into him on Inside the NBA. Howard also lashed out at Shaq, claiming, “I think that’s jealousy,” and that the 51-year-old was too old for “hating.”

Shaquille O’Neal is going to be the first player in Orlando Magic history whose jersey will be retired – Shaq’s dream for a long time. Only a day before this truce, Howard reckoned, “What we did in Orlando, no offense to Shaq; he should have his jersey retired, but I should have mine too.” He also threw in Tracy McGrady and Penny Hardaway’s names in the hat.

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In all fairness, he didn’t diminish Shaq’s honor and believes he deserves it (which he does as the one leading Magic to the Finals for the first time). Howard just wants to be in the same league as his ‘big brother.’ Do you agree?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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