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Shaquille O’Neal Snubs Luka Doncic for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, How Is NBA World Reacting to This Bold Claim?

Published 01/16/2024, 10:59 PM EST

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Here we thought Shaq was squarely in Luka Doncic’s corner. He once picked the Dallas guard over Stephen Curry. Now he’s picked the best thing to happen to Oklahoma City Thunder aka Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. O’Neal is back on TNT Tuesdays with Adam Lefkoe, Candace Parker and Jamal Crawford. To kick off the 2024 season, he stunned his co-hosts by picking SGA over Doncic as the better guard.

SGA has been on Shaq’s radar for a while now. But no one expected it to reach these heights this soon. While he’s entitled to his opinion, fans want to pick this claim apart.

Shaquille O’Neal stirs trouble in the Western Conference

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Since he’s back on TNT Tuesdays, Shaquille O’Neal went about his favorite game – getting tongues wagging. While Candace Parker was breaking down numbers for the Mavs and Thunder, O’Neal deviated from the consensus and elevated Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over Luka Doncic.

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I’m gonna have to take [SGA]. Luka is a fabulous player but this kid? He plays the right way, gets his teammates involved, and when he puts his head down and goes to the basket, no one… I’m taking him right now. He’s definitely emerged as one of my favorite players to watch. Because I like stories like this, guys that come out nowhere and then they’re a force to be reckoned with. He’s a hell of a player right now,” the 4x NBA champion said.

Thunder fell 117-128 to the Los Angeles Clippers today, now at 27-13 into the season. SGA put 19 points on the scoreboard along with 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 34 minutes. He’s emerged as a strong MVP candidate in a race involving Doncic and Joel Embiid.

Previously, Shaq was on The Stephen A. Smith Show including SGA among his top 5 (which went up to seven) favorite youngsters in the league. That didn’t raise as many eyebrows as much as he did now.

Shaq gets fans talking

The returning Tuesday panel weren’t the only ones clutching their figurative pearls. Being the 7’1″ pot-stirrer he is, O’Neal has left fans divided with his opinion. They start with some nitpicking. SGA (born July 1998) is 7 months older than Doncic (born February 1999). So they’re not buying the ‘kid’ label.

Someone said on Instagram, “Now you reaching for them clicks that you know you don’t need right now. Stop it. You can’t even believe you said this, now come on.” They’re not wrong since Shaq has stated he calculates his comments to keep up a hype.

As much as some think they’re not comparable, they pick up Shaq mentioning SGA as a ‘team player.’ It made others imagine the possibilities as one wrote, “I can’t even imagine what Luka would do if he was surrounded by OKCs core.”

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Some try to be logical. Others believe Shaq’s getting wilder and implore to him, “Love SGA, but come on big fella haha.”

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Shai did have his fair share of hype. Some enabled Shaq’s behavior with more articulation. Safe to say, Shaq’s made everyone keep a closer eye on the two guards to take it up with Big Diesel.

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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:

Aakash Nair