It’s Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s hope that one day, Dwight Howard’s No. 12 jersey will hang in the STAPLES Center rafters alongside those of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and, coming this year, Shaquille O’Neal.
While Abdul-Jabbar has reached out to Howard offering his assistance, O’Neal’s taken a different approach.
Last week on an NBA.com roundtable with fellow TNT analysts, Shaq essentially said that he’d choose Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum over Howard, explaining that he prefers (what he considers) more typical back-to-the-basket centers.
Howard has been the All-NBA First Team selection in the pivot every year since 2008, but this isn’t the first time he’s taken criticism from O’Neal.
After Thursday’s practice — in which Howard looked very strong in 5-on-5-on-5 contact drills as he continues to progress from back surgery in April — Howard was asked by a reporter what he thought of Shaq’s recent comments.
Often times, athletes will choose to gloss over or make light of such a story, but give Howard credit for offering his opinion:
I don’t really care what Shaq says. Shaq played the game … he’s done. He’s gone. It’s time to move on. He hated the fact that when he played, the older guys were talking about him and how he played, and now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash. He did his thing in the league, (he’s one) of the greatest to ever play the game. Just sit back and relax. Your time is up. I don’t really care. He can say whatever he wants … I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. Like I said, he already did his thing. He played. When my time is up there’s going to be someone else who can do everything I can do and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about it, I’ll do my job to help him get where I’m at. That’s what guys who’ve done it before should do.
CLICK HERE for video of Howard’s media session after Thursday’s practice.