Shaquille O’Neal Needs to Stop Criticizing Dwight Howard

Shaq needs to stop poking Superman.

The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting for a playoff spot, and they put together an inspiring victory over the Dallas Mavericks on April 2. Kobe Bryant led the team with a triple-double and the Lakers won convincingly by a score of 101-81.

This should be the story.

Instead, the news also includes the latest Shaquille O’Neal jab that was directed at Dwight Howard. In an article on ESPN, O’Neal suggests that “"The other guy needs to step into his own."

The identity of “the other guy” is not hard to deduce.

Obviously this is part of O’Neal’s career now. He was hired to be an analyst on TNT, and his job is to express opinions that will be interesting enough to entice an audience. Criticism is part of that analysis.

Unfortunately, this feels a bit personal.

Shaq went on to say this:

"I would like to see him average 28 (points) and 10 (rebounds)," O'Neal said. "That's the number that was thrown in my face, 28 and 10, so that's the number I'm always going to throw in his face."

The question is what Howard’s performance has to do with Shaq. Where did the 28 and 10 numbers come from? If Howard averaged these numbers throughout the season, would O’Neal start to deliver praise on a regular basis?

Howard may be capable of those numbers, but is that his role with this current roster? Perhaps when Kobe retires Howard could produce those statistics as the first option on offense. However, he is currently playing on a team where the offense is not always going to flow through him.

The reality is that Shaq and Dwight are different players. They have different personalities and varied strengths. Howard is probably never going to be the offensive force that O’Neal was in his prime. However, Howard is arguably a better defender and much more motivated on ...

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