Watch: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-Shaquille O’Neal address their feud during LeBron James’ NBA all-time record scoring night

LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar exchanged flattering words in public, but their hug following James’ breaking of Abdul-scoring Jabbar’s record lacked warmth.

As the former Lakers legend regularly attacked James for the way he has handled his position, including calling him out for neglecting to support COVID vaccinations at a time when the virus was killing a high number of Black People, the brief and uncomfortable hug at midcourt was expected.

But, during his postgame interview on TNT, the former Lakers captain made sure to dismiss any rumors of a feud with Shaquille O’Neal, another former Lakers player. While Abdul-Jabbar has lauded O’Neal since his retirement, O’Neal is remorse that Abdul-Jabbar never gave him support when he was playing.

“I want to tell Shaq, I ask you specifically this evening because you felt that I was ashamed of you or ignoring you — that would never be the case,” Abdul-Jabbar said on TNT. “And you showed what you were all about the way you crushed all the centers in the league for a couple of years there. So I’m on your side Shaq, don’t ever let anybody tell you anything different.”

Shaq responded: “Listen, you not speaking to me was the best thing that happened to my career because all I ever wanted to do was impress you, sir. I will talk to you soon, inshallah, and I love you very much. I will never ever have beef with the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You ain’t got to worry about that.”

That prompted Abdul-Jabbar to double down his support for O’Neal.

“That’s back at you. I love you, too,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I want you guys to keep impressing the whole world with our game. It’s a wonderful game.”

O’Neal closed by saying: “Yup, I’ll talk to you soon, Cap.”

In a recent interview with ClutchPoints during an NBRPA event at the 2023 All-Star Weekend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offered further clarity on this issue. He addressed the issue and said, “I was waiting for him to reach his potential before I could support him. I didn’t want to support them when he was just a [young guy]. He and Kobe got together and changed everybody’s idea of what he was possibly doing. I don’t know if you guys remember the Orlando-Houston playoff series and [Hakeem] Olajuwon just took Shaquille to school what could I say? It was time for him to learn and get serious and once he did that, he’s a Hall of Famer and he belongs there.”

It’s natural to have slight to abundant envy toward fellow players. But it’s good to see that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaq have ended it in a decent term. This is what makes them great even outside the court.


Sayma Yeasmin

235 articles

I write cause that's the only way I know to sound sane.


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