"Don't disrespect the champ" - Shaquille O'Neil believes the Milwaukee Bucks are a legitimate threat for the Brooklyn Nets in the East

Shaquille 0'Neal and Giannis Antetokumpo [Image Credits: Shaq, Giannis/Instagram]
Shaquille 0'Neal and Giannis Antetokumpo [Image Credits: Shaq, Giannis/Instagram]
Godwin Mathew

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has said that the Milwaukee Bucks are not to be underestimated as they seek to win back-to-back championships this season.

The Bucks defied odds last season to be crowned NBA champions. Despite having the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and PJTucker, many believed the Bucks would come short in the postseason. However, that did not happen as they beat the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the Finals to win their first championship in five decades.

Despite being the reigning champions, the Bucks' chances of a repeat triumph have been dismissed by many critics. However, Shaquille O'Neal said on the show 'First Take' that the Bucks have as good a chance as any to win the championship.

During an interaction with Stephen A. Smith on the show, Shaq said:

"Come on man, Milwaukee. Let me tell you something, don't disrespect the champions because all these teams got big-name players. Give the champions their due respect. He (Giannis Antetokounmpo) did it the right way; he did it the respectful way, I'm going to give that man all the respect till they beat him. The new Superman is going to be a problem in the east. Period. I said it."

Can the Milwaukee Bucks win back-to-back championships?

Milwaukee Bucks' victory parade & rally
Milwaukee Bucks' victory parade & rally

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets last season in the conference semis before going all the way.

This series was a highly anticipated one, as two of the best players in the league - Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant - locked horns with each other. If KD had not overstepped the three-point line in the dying moments of the seventh game, the Nets would have moved to the conference Finals at the expense of the Bucks.

.@SHAQ had some high praise for Giannis ๐Ÿ‘€ "Don't disrespect the champ. ... The new superman is going to be a problem in the East!โ€

This year, yet again, the two teams could be the ones to watch out for in the East. If Milwaukee want to have any chance of repeating their championship triumph, they will likely have to cross swords with the Brooklyn Nets late in the playoffs.

Speaking about the possible contenders in the NBA Eastern Conference this season, Shaq said:

"Those teams (Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks) will make noise. Especially Miami, the culture that Pat Riley set 10-15 years ago; Eric Spoelstra is still one of the most elite coaches in the league. They're going to make some noise if healthy. But I'm not going to respect the champions. I like Milwaukee; I like Brooklyn; those two are going to battle it out again in a 6-7 game series, and may the best team win."

The Bucks will have a very short off-season, as two of their players played for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

However, when it's showtime, you can always expect the best from their MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak will likely be key to their championship aspirations once again. He will hope for another great season this year and try to add a second championship to his already stacked resume.

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Edited by Bhargav
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