Kyrie Irving has been in the spotlight since he shared a clip of a film with antisemitic tropes that was streaming on Amazon Prime. Many analysts, including Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal, who are hosts on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” have shared their opinions on Irving’s actions.
Barkley said that he thought Irving should be suspended, which the Brooklyn Nets eventually did for eight games. Irving was called an “idiot” on television by Barkley. O’Neal also used the term “idiot” when referring to Irving.
Irving's characterization upset NBA veteran Dwight Howard, who is now playing in Taiwan. On social media, Howard addressed how he felt about O’Neal and Barkley speaking negatively about another player. A person watching the stream suggested that Howard wouldn’t say it to Shaq’s face, and that did not sit well with Howard.
“What you trynna do is causing riot, ruckus and causing fighting,” Howard said.
Barkley and O’Neal are no strangers to their comments rubbing players the wrong way. Whether it be their harsh criticism of current players or them just making jokes about the young men playing, some criticisms have been met with pushback.
One particular segment that O’Neal is famous for is “Shaqtin a Fool,” during which he mocks players’ mistakes. Howard has been the target of some of those segments.
Shaquille O'Neal vs Dwight Howard
Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard have never been friends. O’Neal has always been a harsh critic of the younger Howard. Both have a similar start in the NBA, being No. 1 draft picks of the Orlando Magic. Both are physically imposing and use their size and strength to their advantage.
Much of the conflict between the two seems to be one-sided. Howard doesn’t go after O’Neal much even when asked about him. In a recent interview with the “All the Smoke” podcast, Howard didn’t understand the issue between him and Shaq.
“I never had no issues with Shaq,” Howard said. “I never wanted to be like Shaq, but I enjoy watching Shaq do what he do. I think he’s the most dominant player to ever play. There’s no player who dominated like Shaq."
O’Neal, on the other hand, didn’t miss an opportunity to mock Howard. When talking about Howard’s recent debut in the Taiwanese Basketball league, Shaq belittled Howard’s stats and the competition he played against.
Perhaps one day two of the NBA's great big men will be cordial to one another, but for now it seems like shots will still be taken.