Barkley Defends Rudy Gobert On TNT After Insults From Shaq
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Though Shaquille O’Neal continued to attack the play of Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz center found support from fellow TNT analyst and former NBA great Charles Barkley.
In a segment on TNT’s Inside the NBA, O’Neal continued to deride Gobert’s value on the floor, while Barkley and former NBA guard Kenny Smith came to his defense.
“This guy is one of the best…” Smith argued before O’Neal interrupted him in the playful exchange.
O’Neal took off his glasses before standing and stating that Gobert wasn’t one of the best players in the NBA.
Shaq was ready to walk off the set when Kenny Smith said Rudy Gobert was one of the best players in the league pic.twitter.com/AZjxkEVqJl
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 8, 2021
“He’s won two Defensive Player of the Year Awards,” Smith yelled while O’Neal dismissed his fellow analysts’ arguments.
Last week, O’Neal appeared on the All Things Covered podcast in which the Hall of Famer took a shot at Gobert’s new $205 million contract signed this offseason.
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there,” O’Neal said. “You average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.”
O’Neal later posted a photoshopped photo on his Instagram page that showed him dunking over Gobert while he was playing for the Lakers.
Rudy Gobert says there's no beef between the @UtahJazz center and @Lakers legend Shaq. #TakeNote https://t.co/nq0Cv9RCMB
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) January 4, 2021
“I would had 45 pts 16 rebound ten missed free throws in three quarters,” O’Neal captioned the photo. “He woulda had 11 pts four rebounds and fouled out in 3 quarters. I’m a G @killakyleon”
For Gobert’s part, he laughed off last week’s exchange.
“😂😂😂😂,” Gobert responded to the post. “i guess we’ll never know.”
Barkley Defends Gobert To Shaq
As O’Neal continued to yell over his TNT co-hosts, Barkley countered with a hypothetical of his own.
“I told you earlier,” Barkle proclaimed. “If you played against Rudy Gobert, he’d be blocking your shot at little kids in the front row. He’d be blocking that little slappy hook you shot.”
O’Neal then changed his argument to focus on the Jazz lack of championship success with Gobert on the roster.
“I care about the team’s success,” O’Neal said. “He ain’t won no championship.”
Barkley asked O’Neal to simply “Let Rudy live.”
BREAKING: The Utah Jazz and Rudy Gobert have a deal in place that will keep the All-Star center in Utah for the next several seasons.https://t.co/YyyKWcf7Yt
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) December 20, 2020
O’Neal finished the segment by telling the young viewers to study Gobert’s game if they want to make a fortune in the NBA.
“All the kids out there, watch Gobert,” O’Neal said, “If you can do what he can do you can get $200 million.”
The former Lakers superstar isn’t wrong, Gobert’s performance has made him one of the league’s highest-paid players. Young fans hoping to find a quick payday may also want to reexamine the perceived ease in garnering such a deal.
Gobert is one of just 10 players in NBA history to be named Defensive Player of the Year twice. Five of the other multi-time winners have already been named to the Hall of Fame.
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