The retired center has clowned and criticized Howard’s game for years. Like most players, Howard has taken being the butt of O’Neal’s on-air digs as just a part of the game. And, again, like several players he also did not miss a chance to crack at joke at O’Neal’s expense.
On social, Howard, who was recently re-signed to the Lakers after being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers, posted a video of himself impersonating O’Neal praising Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I still got, I still got the Milwaukee Bucks winning. … I still got the Milwaukee Bucks, I got Giannis, he’s the new Superman, so I think he’s gonna win,” said Howard while mocking the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer’s deep voice. He then broke character to resume using his actual voice to say, “Aight Shaq, gotd—n.”
Howard’s choice of commentary in the video could be perceived as a separate dig at O’Neal, who has consistently praised the young Bucks star. In November O’Neal said he was passing down his nickname as Superman to Antetokounmpo, a nickname also used by Howard.
“I’ve never given my name up before, but I’m giving it to [Antetokounmpo],” O’Neal said on The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio. “He’s the new Superman. You heard it here first. I didn’t hit no 3-pointer either, but he’s dominating and that’s what I like. He’s dominating in the paint. You taking it to the hole. You throwing it down. You ain’t shooting no flip shots.”
Antetokounmpo went on to help lead his team to the victory as they secured the franchise’s first championship win in fifty years. The 24 year-old Finals MVP had one of the best championship performances that spectators and analysts had ever witnessed. Fans who peeped the short clip over on the “NBA on TNT” social feed — where O’Neal serves as a host — were quick to jump in the comments saying that Howard had only made himself more of a target for the big man.
“Shaq always throwing shade at Howard for no reason man 😂. And watch he going to be salty after this comeback too.”
“You see this why Shaq always coming for him 😂”
“I know Shaq say he got 4 rings and you only got 1 😂😂 and even say ‘that’s still one more than Chuck’ just because 😂😂”
O’Neal not only reposted the video to his Instagram feed, but, as fans expected, he also took a dig at Howard’s game in the caption. “Not bad @dwighthoward reminds me of your game SO SO.”
“I live for the petty Shaq 🤣🤣” and “IDK why he be tryin’ Shaq knowing unc don’t f—k with him like that 😂” commented some people who found the clapback entertaining. For those keeping up with the rolling scroll of O’Neal’s digs at Howard, his remark was somewhat reminiscent of 2020 comments about Howard winning a championship ring with the Lakers in that stint with the team.
Howard did not have an outstanding season with the Lakers, and some would argue he did little to help his team secure the series win over the Miami Heat in the NBA FInals. In his speech he said, “Everybody out there, don’t ever give up on your dreams. You can f——n’ do it, I swear! Just keep fighting.”
O’Neal wasted no time in popping Howard’s celebration of earning his first ring by calling him a “bandwagon jumper.”
“You know what I don’t like as a player? It’s a lot of players on their little Instagram bragging like they were the reasons they got the championship,” said O’Neal on the “Big Podcast With Shaq.” He continued, “I ain’t gonna say no names. Sit yo’ ass down, you ain’t do nothing.”