Shaquille O’Neal doubled down on his take from earlier this year when he implied Donovan Mitchell doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level.
Donovan Mitchell showed incredible promise in the recently concluded season, leading Utah Jazz to the best record in the league. He heroically battled it out on a hobbled knee against the resurgent LA Clippers, but it wasn’t enough. The Jazz crashed out in 6 games, after being up 2-0.
After resigning Mike Conley and trading for Rudy Gay and Eric Paschall, the Jazz look set to dominate the Western Conference yet again. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal still has doubts over the Jazz superstar’s potential, however.
Earlier this year, in a slightly awkward post-game interview with Mitchell, Shaq had questioned his ability to get better. The response from Mitchell back then was unflattering to say the least, as he apparently felt some disrespect coming his way. Shaq had copped a lot of criticism all over social media for his poorly worded question.
We can completely understand why Donovan Mitchell could be unimpressed with the quote. Picked 13th in the 2017 NBA draft, the guy has always been an underdog. Losing an unfair battle to Ben Simmons for the “Rookie Of The Year” trophy didn’t help either.
Doubts have seemed to propel him even further, however, as Mitchell has emerged as the leader of the Jazz dressing room full of vets at a young age.
Shaq recently clarified in an interview that he meant to compare Mitchell to legends of the game such as Kobe Bryant, a level he is yet to reach.
Shaq on his critique of Donovan Mitchell:
“Being fifth is not acceptable to me. If I’m not number one or number two, don’t bring my name up.” pic.twitter.com/K02SSmg5vb
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) August 26, 2021
“What I am saying is, I play with Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, D-Wade, LeBron James, Steve Nash. If you ain’t on that level, I don’t know what great is.” Shaq remarked. The Hall of Famer clearly has high expectations from the All-Star guard.
“Really good player, on his way… Being 5th best is not acceptable to me, if I am not number one or number two in the NBA don’t bring my name up, ever.”
We completely agree with Shaq in that Donovan clearly has a level he is yet to reach. The statement might have been a little unfiltered, but we hope that it fuels the Jazz star to keep giving it his all.