Shaquille O’Neal reveals how he thought one had to put up Michael Jordan type of numbers to get the $205 million contract that the Jazz center Rudy Gobert signed.
After spending seven years with the Jazz organization, this past offseason, Rudy Gobert received a hefty reward. Utah signed the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to a 5-year, $205 million contract extension.
This signing immediately attracted a lot of criticism. One of the critics was the former Lakers center, Shaquille O’Neal. He openly stated his displeasure by mocking him, “you average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million”.
Recently, Shaq admitted that jealousy played a little part in his criticism of Gobert. He further expressed his disbelief thinking one had to put Michael Jordan type stats to earn that type of money. Shaq said:
“I’m jealous, but I’m happy. I’m jealous because I always thought that you had to have Michael-Jordan, superb-type numbers to get that type of money. That’s what it was in my era, but I’m happy for the kids.”
“Rudy Gobert is not the average-type, big-guy NBA player no more. ‘Cause the average big they’re looking for now is a guy that can pick-and-pop and do whatever. Rudy Gobert’s big, tall, plays hard, plays great defense, Defensive Player of the Year.”
“You’re not going to be Michael Jordan, try emulating Rudy Gobert”: Shaquille O’Neal
It is obvious why Shaq must be jealous of Rudy’s contract. Shaquille O’Neal, who is considered to be the greatest center of all time, had signed a 7-year, $120 million contract back when he was with the Lakers. Gobert’s contract dwarfs Shaq’s max contract.
Shaq stated how the other big men, who also could also do what Rudy is going, to take it as inspiration. The Hall-Of-Famer said:
“You’re not gonna be LeBron. You’re not gonna be Kobe. You’re not gonna be Shaq. You’re not gonna be Garnett. But I think there’s a lot of big guys even today that can do what he can do. So when I tell the story, people think, ‘Oh, you’re just jealous.’ Yeah, I am jealous he’s making $250 (million).”
“Yeah, I’ll say I’m jealous. However, for this game of ours, it can motivate a young kid today… All these guys that are watching, this is what motivates them.”
While Rudy is nowhere close to what Shaq or Jordan were in their primes, he has had a terrific impact on his team. Despite receiving all the criticism, Gobert has been proving his doubters wrong.
While averaging 14.4 points and 13.5 rebounds, he is leading his team to have the best record in their entire league. Like him or hate him for his contract, you can’t take away credits for how he has impacted his team this season.