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NBA Hall of Fame Center Shaquille O'Neal Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Amazon Devices and Services)
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Shaq Feuding With Donovan Mitchell & Utah Jazz Is Great For Publicity

NBA Hall of Fame Center Shaquille O'Neal Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Amazon Devices and Services)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are currently on a nine-game winning streak and shooting up a number of power rankings, but some of the biggest conversations about the streaking Jazz are coming from what Shaquille O’Neal is saying about the team.

O’Neal has been all over the Jazz this year and it started when he criticized Rudy Gobert and the contract that is going to pay him $205 million over five years by saying:

“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.”

Then there was that awkward interview between O’Neal and Donovan Mitchell where O’Neal was trying to prove a point about Mitchell’s play but it came out looking bad.

 

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Going a step further, there was a photoshopped image of Mitchell dunking on O’Neal in which Shaq called out the artist via direct messages because he was so upset.

All of this is publicity is a positive for the Utah Jazz, who aren’t normally the center of attention.

 

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Shaq Is Bullying The Utah Jazz

The Jazz are sitting in the top three of the Western Conference standings and have found ways to win over the past two weeks.

The question being asked is if O’Neal is picking on the Jazz and if that bullying is actually leading to motivation. KSL Sports’ Tom Hackett emphatically believes that is the case.

“Jazz fans should mark January 21 in the calendar because if they go on and do big things in the year 2021, you have to look back at this moment in time and think, well, surely that played some sort of role,” Hackett said. “Look, if I’m Donovan Mitchell and I’m speaking to Shaq a couple of days ago in the manner that it all unfolded, it just added motivation. It’s just adding fuel to the fire.”

The Jazz were winning before the O’Neal comments with a seven-game winning streak and have won a few more after the fact. To say the disrespect by O’Neal toward the Mitchell and the Jazz is fueling them to win is a bit too soon to tell but there is no doubt that calling out Mitchell and saying he is just a scorer and not an elite player will definitely motivate him and his teammates to prove a talking head wrong.

Was Shaq Secretly Motivating Mitchell?

On the flip side, perhaps O’Neal is actually trying to motivate the Jazz and really likes them. That is what KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell thinks is happening.

“I think Shaquille O’Neal actually likes the Jazz and I think he’s watched and said, ‘you know what, this is a team that could actually do something this year,’ ” Mitchell said, “I think he maybe saw this guy and he said, ‘I’m going to go on national TV and I’m going to kind of punk Donovan Mitchell and just say, hey, man, I want you to use this as motivation.’ What Shaquille O’Neal is saying is that you’re not good enough and but wink, wink, I really think you’re good enough.”

That would be quite the mind game for O’Neal to play on Mitchell.

Regardless of why O’Neal is doing this back-and-forth and smack talk, all of this publicity is something that no amount of winning could help the Utah Jazz. The more talk about the Jazz is better for this team and getting them the attention they deserve.

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