NBA

Shaquille O'Neal Kobe Bryant.

Shaquille O'Neal sees a bit of himself in D'Angelo Russell

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Los Angeles Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell has cut quite a polarising figure this season; everybody has had a view on the number two pick in the 2015 draft.

Whether it's been drawing direct correlations between his progress - or in some opinions, a lack thereof - and the Lakers' fortunes, or whether it's been a crescendo of frustration over the rookies playing time as the purple and gold continue to struggle - he's never been far away from the conversation.

More recently, Steph Curry has moved to praise the 20-year-old after the Lakers shockingly got the better of the NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors.

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Laker legend Kobe Bryant also called on Russell to do better following a loss to Denver in January, while coach Byron Scott has found it seemingly impossible to stop talking about the youngster's progress.

Now you can add one more star name to the list of Russell commenters: Shaquille O'Neal.

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Big Shaq is a Lakers legend having been a driving force behind three NBA Championships during his eight years in California. The former 15-time All-Star center offered Russell one of the finest compliments a legend of his standing can during a recent appearance on TNT Thursday.

When mentioning Bryant, O'Neal insisted: "He's [Russell] wired like us."

What the 2000 MVP means by that is, Russell has that same irrepressible drive and confidence in himself that Bryant and O'Neal exhibited during their playing careers.

Many would interpret that trait as a sign of greatness, a calling card of those superstars who feed off success and glory and won't settle for anything less.

Lakers v Timberwolves

Russell has endured a hit and miss debut campaign so far, largely in part because of his fluctuating minutes. The former Ohio State star is averaging 13.4 points and 3.5 assists a night at present during 27.8 minutes on the floor.

However, Russell's obvious offensive talents can go off at a moments notice, as the Brooklyn Nets will testify to having been on the receiving end of his 39-point explosion this season.

Despite the positives that come with being associated next to legendary figures like O'Neal or Bryant, Russell remains determined to build his own legacy rather than emerge from the embers of anyone else's.

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Russell said: "I don't want people to just think, 'He's got some Kobe-like [characteristics]'. "I don't want to go there. I want to be me—and people know it's me.

"I don't want: 'He's trying to act like Kobe' or 'His answers are like something Kobe would've said.' Nah. If it's me, I'm going to say it."

That sort of quote ironically justifies O'Neal's quote.

Topics:
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Kobe Bryant
D'Angelo Russell

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