NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is disappointed with how trash talking no longer plays a prominent role in the league and insists it was essential during his playing career.
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While the likes of Draymond Green and Lance Stephenson have certainly kept the flag flying in recent years, it still isn’t anywhere near the level that the players in the NBA used to talk at during games.
Former players and coaches have shared numerous stories about how certain individuals would try to get under their skin out on the court, but it seems as though the NBA has lost that edge to a certain extent over time.
The rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers is certainly a throwback with many panelists enjoying their clashes over the past two years, and it has threatened to boil over on multiple occasions.
It has even spread into the media as the two rivals fire shots at each other in interviews, and even interrupt national TV interviews by bumping into the opposition, looking at you Dahntay Jones.
However, it still isn’t enough to get the former stars excited and Shaq sounded disappointed when asked for his opinion on the matter.
“Trash talking has slipped 60%. I know a lot of the players are worried about getting fined, but for me, growing up, you had to trash talk. I didn’t play against kids, I played against guys on the army base. Gary Payton — one of the world’s greatest trash talkers — grew up in Oakland, the mean streets of Oakland,” Shaq said, according to USA Today.
“But they say lot of the legends were great trash talkers. I was talking to Isiah [Thomas] once and he said Larry Bird was an unbelievable trash talker. Like Larry Bird used to say stuff like, “I’m gonna take one dribble, pump-fake you and even if you don’t go for it, I’m going to shoot it the second time and it’s going to be all net.” And he’d do it.”
While the 60 percent aspect of his comments is a bit strange in terms of how he managed to get to that number, Shaq has a point and it really is a missing ingredient to the modern game.
Fans have suggested that social media and the fact that many of the players are friends off the court despite their team association has contributed to the problem, but it doesn’t appear as though the situation will be changing any time soon.