“What If I Shot Like Steph Curry?”: Shaquille O’Neal Shows Surprising Moment of Empathy After Kyrie Irving’s Controversial Postgame Rant

Published 02/07/2024, 1:11 AM EST

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Shaquille O’Neal let his inner thoughts out. He may be commenting on the Kyrie Irving game but his innermost desire came out – wanting to shoot like Stephen Curry. O’Neal was the most dominant center in the lower post. But from the free-throw line, he was a catastrophe. So when Irving made a comparison to Curry in his post-game interview, Shaq analyzed it with some personal reflection.

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What if I shot like Curry?” Shaq blurted out, making his co-hosts confused at the sudden comment. “What if I shot 70% from the free throw line?” Jamal Crawford humored him and said, “Your goal is always Steph Curry, Shaq.” O’Neal was actually giving Kyrie the benefit of the doubt.

The 4x NBA champion wanted to explain that all players have what-ifs. Irving had many today as he played in New York for the first time since he was traded from the Nets to the Mavericks. He dominated with 36 points leading Dallas to a 119-107 victory. “I think about those things all the things. It’s not things you should focus on. Tell them to move on,” O’Neal said about his desire and Irving’s situation.

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All anyone could talk about was how he dealt with playing against his former team after a dramatic departure. Irving didn’t join TNT after the game but when on a frustrated rant in the post-game press conference.

Shaq approves of Kyrie Irving’s message

It was time to get my own peace of mind and go somewhere where I was able to thrive,” Irving said. Shortly after he went to Dallas, the Nets traded Kevin Durant to Phoenix. Both are playing exponentially better in their new squads leaving Nets fans with a lot of what-ifs. Those queries dogged Irving on Tuesday and resulted in a rant.

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Things could have changed, and you look back at the past and you have 20-20 vision — this could’ve gone right or if this would’ve happened,” he vented. “If I didn’t get injured versus the Bucks, do I still ask for a trade? If KD’s foot wasn’t on the 3-point line, are we talking about a different legacy here? If James doesn’t ask for a trade … all the woulda, coulda, shoulda, wouldas, hopefully after this night, we can just put that to rest and just move forward and I can look forward to the rest of my career and just handle it in Dallas and going after my second championship.”

USA Today via Reuters

Shaquille O’Neal was satisfied with Kyrie’s response to the question. Both know the normal career trajectory of playing against your former teams and what-ifs that come with it. “He’s in a different team, in a different organization… I think he did a great job at answering that question. We all have that.” Do you agree with Big Aristotle?

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Written by:

Caroline John

996Articles

One take at a time

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

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