So Shaquille O’Neal was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and delivered one of the greatest acceptance speeches EVER. In his almost thirty-minute monologue, the NBA star thanked what was a laundry list of fans, friends, coaches and former teammates. Before his Hall of Fame speech, though, Shaq was asked for his thoughts on his former LA Lakers squad, and pretty much killed the hopes and dreams of die-hard fans.
“They’re definitely going to be exciting,” O’Neal told Bill Oram of LA Daily News, “but I don’t see them being a contender for a while. I mean, they’ve still got to go up against Golden State in the West, they’ve got to go up against OKC, still got to go up against Cleveland, the Rockets. So they have a long way to go to be a contender.”
Shaquille O’Neal criticizes past and present LA Lakers players
He further delved into the current roster of the team, specifically No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, whom Shaq described as a player who “needs to get a little bit stronger” during the upcoming season. O’Neal added that newly appointed Lakers coach Luke Walton will come up with “some type of system where’s he’s (Ingram) going to be out on the perimeter and doesn’t need to post up that much.”
Shaquille O’Neal also had a few words to say about Walton, who as many would remember had a very successful stint with the Golden State Warriors last season. He acknowledged that the new head coach is “a young guy,” but is “not afraid to take risks.”
Meanwhile, Shaq also had a few things to say about his former Lakers teammate, the “great” Kobe Bryant. Taking a few jabs at the future Hall of Famer, O’Neal shouted out at Bryant, pinning his Miami trade on the Mamba (in his own Shaquille O’Neal way).
“Last but not least, the great Kobe Bryant (crowd cheers) … Kobe Bryant: a guy that would push me and help me win three titles in a row,” said Shaq. “He’d also help me get pushed off the team and get me traded to Miami.”
Listen to the entire Hall of Fame speech of Shaquille O’Neal below.
For now, let us all pray for the LA Lakers as they go through another journey to be (almost) great, again.
Photo Courtesy: Cubahora/ Flickr