The Big Aristotle recently got himself into some hot water after comparing Boston Celtics star Joel Embiid to his former teammate Kobe Bryant, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to even hear an apology on behalf of the NBA legend.
Shaquille O’Neal has quickly and emphatically shut down comparisons of Joel Embiid and James Harden to him and Kobe Bryant. The NBA legend said that the two young stars have “nothing on me.” Read more in detail here: shaq net worth.
Simply told, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are unquestionably one of the greatest 1-2 punches in NBA history. And probably the best guard-center combination of all time, though Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, could disagree. But that’s something we’ll store for another day.
While their on-court and off-court relationship was clearly difficult at times, there’s no denying that Shaq and Kobe got the job done for the Los Angeles Lakers back in the day.
They were teammates in Los Angeles for eight seasons, winning three straight NBA championships from 2000 to 2002 and exciting fans across the world before parting ways in 2004 after their fourth NBA Finals appearance, a five-game series defeat to the Detroit Pistons.
Some are comparing the new Philadelphia 76ers tandem of current NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid and 2018 NBA MVP James Harden to Shaq and Kobe Bryant. But O’Neal isn’t having it, and he recently said so loudly.
Shaquille O’Neal instantly deflected parallels to him and Kobe Bryant between Joel Embiid and James Harden.
(L-R) Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal; Joel Embiid and James Harden | Vince Bucci/AFP via Getty Images; Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal; Joel Embiid and James Harden
Harden was traded to the Sixers following a poor stint with the Brooklyn Nets, and he and Embiid performed well in a 31-point thumping of the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 25. Embiid led the team with 34 points and 10 rebounds, while “The Beard” finished with 27 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds.
These sorts of performances continued for both as Embiid and Harden won their first five games together, averaging 57.2 points, 18.4 rebounds, and 15.8 assists (Harden sat out a March 5 defeat to the Miami Heat).
Since then, things have waned, but given the duo’s blazing start, they’ve been compared to some of the NBA’s all-time best duos. Because Shaq and Kobe are among them, the topic came up recently on an edition of O’Neal’s Big Podcast With Shaq.
Spice Adams questioned “The Diesel” whether Embiid and Harden were the next generation of him and Bryant, and Shaq quickly dispelled that idea with a fast “no.” When Adams asked whether Shaq felt the Sixers pair would be in the discussion if Philly won the championship this year, the four-time NBA champion abruptly ended the conversation.
“Absolutely not. We won three of the four games. Not even for a single year. Together, Kobe and I did eight years of devastation. This isn’t even close. Put a stop to it. No.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
Shaquille O’Neal on Joel Embiid and James Harden being compared to him and Kobe Bryant.
Many publications said he spoke the words corresponding with the letters in the above sentence, but those who really listened to the program knew otherwise.
But I believe he made his point, and I believe he is correct. Embiid and Harden will never be on the same level as Shaq and Kobe, no matter what happens this year. Get to two championships in a row, as O’Neal said during the broadcast, and a discussion about anointing that couple as the next someone may begin. But, until then, let’s keep the noise to a minimum.
After all, it’s the postseason now. Harden isn’t going to win anything anyhow, as we all know.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: After sharing MVP honors at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, Kobe Bryant made a heartwarming (and then heartbreaking) gesture to Shaquille O’Neal.
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