NBA legend and current TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal has gotten into a couple of different feuds with the Golden State Warriors already this season.
The core issue that started all the drama was Shaq's continual bashing of Golden State center JaVale McGee on his "Shaqtin' a Fool" blooper segment on the TNT pregame show.
Durant, in his first year with the Warriors, responded to Shaq's comments on McGee, calling the former MVP's free-throw shooting into question and saying he "didn't have any skills."
After it originally seemed as if Shaq was done with the feud after Durant's comments, O'Neal ripped Durant in a long rant that appeared in a Sports Illustrated story about how the NBA is getting soft:
“KD doesn’t have G–14 Classification,” O’Neal said, meaning that Durant has yet to win a title. “He can’t talk to me like that. He may think he does, and he’s sticking up for his teammate. He’s a great player, but you ain’t in the club yet. You’re on the outside in line with [Charles] Barkley, [Karl] Malone and [John] Stockton. You’re not in the club with me and those [championship] guys. That’s why I tweeted him, ‘Mind ya business.’”
The feud had seemingly ended a couple of weeks ago, so why Shaq felt the need to comment on Durant again on Thursday doesn't make sense.
Shaq was just getting started, though. While agreeing with Durant's criticism that he only pushed people around in the paint, O'Neal went on to say that today's NBA stars are too sensitive when they face criticism from former NBA players:
“[Durant] was just trying to stick up for his teammate," O'Neal said. "If you read into what he said, none of his s--- made sense. Well, actually some of it made sense. He said I was strong and I bullied people. Of course, that’s exactly what I did. I’m not going to go shoot jumpers and do all of that.
“Just put it this way: The league is soft and these guys are sensitive, period. I was sensitive [as a player] too but I never went back at [older players]. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain never said s--- to [support] me. Did I cry about it? No. Kareem said in the paper one time, when they asked him, ‘Shaq is doing great, he has numbers similar to yours, what do you think?’ His response was, ‘Well, he hasn’t won a championship yet.’ I could have gone back at him, but I didn’t. I sucked it up like a real man and was like, ‘OK, watch this.’ A lot of guys, these days, when you say anything about them they start whimpering and crying.”
If Durant can get healthy in time for the playoffs, he has a very good shot of winning the first championship of his career with the Warriors.
Whether or not that will make O'Neal more receptive to the star forward's criticisms in the future, though, remains to be seen.