Joel Embiid received some first-rate player from possibly the most dominant basketball player of all time – Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq is often portrayed as one of those old heads who like to simply look down on the current generation. There have been good reasons for this notion – the way he’s bullied Dwight Howard and now Rudy Gobert is not all that palatable.
However, Shaq also gives props to players who he thinks are dominant in today’s game. Of late, Shaq has also had some great praise for Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, though he’s cooled off a bit on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Shaq has been high on both Giannis and Embiid for the past 3 seasons. But it’s the Greek Freak whom the Lakers legend seemed to prefer till this year. O’Neal said that Giannis is the first player since himself to have deserved the Superman moniker.
Shaquille O’Neal reveals how Joel Embiid can cement his reputation
In an interview with John Kincade last morning, O’Neal revealed why he likes Embiid’s MVP case so much, while also revealing that he shed a tear or two for his monster career night:
“He’s playing up to his size. He’s playing with a lot more enthusiasm and he’s getting the numbers that it takes to be a big man in the MVP category.”
“Any big man can get 20 [points], any big man can get 23. But it takes a special big man to average over 28 and dominate the way he did.”
“The game he played the other day [against the Bulls] had me in tears. I haven’t seen a big man play that way in a long time. I haven’t seen a big man in the MVP conversation in a long time.”
O’Neal also advised caution for Embiid and didn’t just line him up with roses:
“But! Don’t get too happy. Because in the NBA there are three seasons: the first half [of the regular season], the second half, and the playoffs. And if you dominate in all three seasons, especially the playoffs, then Philadelphia is gonna be a happy city.”