Dwight Howard has grown tired of Shaquille O’Neal’s pettiness. He tried to play the role of the good soldier. He tried to pay respect to a legend. He tried to be the good guy for a long time.
His patience, understandably, has grown thin.
On Thursday, a day after Shaq’s comments about Brook Lopez being a better center than him hit the web, Dwight fired back.
"I don't care what Shaq says," Howard said (via the Los Angeles Times). "Shaq played the game and he is done. It's time to move on. He hated the fact when he played that older guys were talking about him and how he played. Now he's doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There's no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in the league. Sit back and relax. Your time is up."
But he didn’t stop there. When pressed on how he will act when Shaq gets his jersey retired at Staples next April, Howard just shrugged the matter off.
"I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That's it. When my time is up, there’s going to be somebody else who can do everything I can do and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about him, I’ll do my job to try to help him get where I’m at. I think that’s what guys who have done it before us should do."
The biggest winner in all this? Kobe Bryant. Not only does this justify all of the beefs he ever had with Shaq, it also provides him with additional motivation he can sporadically use with Howard. If the Lakers’ new center ever takes his foot off the gas or isn’t as aggressive as Kobe wants him to be, you better believe Shaq’s quotes are going to be taped to his locker the next day.
The biggest loser? O’Neal, by a mile. There is nothing worse than a legend that is so insecure, he has to bash youngsters who idolize him. Nothing worse. Lakers fans will forever be grateful to Shaq for the championship rings he carried this franchise to – but childish pettiness is childish pettiness.
It’s time for Superman to grow up.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)