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“Don’t Do That To My Jersey Guy!”: Kyrie Irving Hilariously Defends Shaquille O’Neal From Ernie Johnson

Advait Jajodia

"Don't Do That To My Jersey Guy!": Kyrie Irving Hilariously Defends Shaquille O'Neal From Ernie Johnson

Kyrie Irving may have performed excellently in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, but it is his post-game actions, that Shaquille O’Neal will appreciate the most for. Getting trolled by the remaining Inside the NBA panel members, Shaq hilariously had the Dallas Mavericks guard stand up for him, revealing that guys from New Jersey always had each other’s backs.

The panel on Inside the NBA just loves pulling pranks on each other, even if to do nothing more than to keep things interesting. Tonight, Shaquille O’Neal was unfortunately the victim.

Initially, Shaq had it in him to laugh it off. However, when Johnson tried doing the same thing just a few minutes later, the hot-headed O’Neal couldn’t help but go off. Seeing one of his guys being vehemently attacked, Kyrie Irving jumped right in, saying,

“Hold on. Don’t do that to my Jersey guy. Don’t do that. Us Jersey guys stick together, no matter what,”

While Irving was born in Australia, he grew up right in New Jersey, just as Shaq did. Despite both players moving around a lot, New Jersey has always had a special place in their hearts.

Given that the place already has a bit of a bad reputation due to New Yorkers always having it out against it, it’s likely that New Jerseyans always look out for each other. And so, why wouldn’t Irving stand up for the big fella?

Kyrie Irving and Shaquille O’Neal are proud of their New Jersey roots

Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving had the privilege of playing for a franchise that initially represented the city he grew up in. Even though Kai was unable to win the championship with the Brooklyn Nets [Formerly the New Jersey Nets], simply being able to represent the franchise meant a lot to him.

Back in 2020, when the Nets decided to unveil their classic edition jersey, Irving expressed his love for New Jersey.

“Growing up a New Jersey Nets fan, especially in the tri-state area, it was a different pride you had to have,” Irving said. “I had that chip on my shoulder everywhere I went because I was that New Jersey kid…

I wanted to be like JKidd [Jason Kidd] growing up. The motivation for me was I was gonna make sure that when the Nets get back to the Finals, I’m gonna be part of this team and we’re gonna be winning this.”

Shaquille O’Neal harbors a similar love for the city. In fact, the big man even decided to “fix” by putting his very own wallet on the line.

“I’m supposed to do it because my mother told me to do it. My mom says you need to go back and fix that place up. You need to go back to Newark and fix Newark up,” Shaq said, per NJ Spotlight News.

Both, Kyrie and Shaq credit New Jersey for allowing them to succeed in life. Despite now living in different parts of the country, they just can’t seem to let go of the city. And given how they look back on their time in the state, they likely never will.

Post Edited By:Tonoy Sengupta

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Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia


Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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