“Me and Kobe had 8 years of damage together, not even close, stop it, listen no, hell no, f*** no” - Shaquille O’Neal refuses to call James Harden and Joel Embiid as the next Shaq-Kobe

James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers passes the ball back to Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers.
James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers passes the ball back to Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The James Harden-Joel Embiid duo is starting to cause major problems in the NBA, and people are starting to liken them to one of the best duos in LA Lakers' history.

Shaquille O'Neal partnered with young Kobe Bryant in 1995 and five years later, they won three consecutive championships. While the Harden-Embiid combo will prove to be a handful for opposing teams, it is too soon to compare them to Shaq and Kobe.

On "The Big Podcast with Shaq," O'Neal said Harden made everyone better and was more comfortable being the No. 2 guy compared to being No. 3 with the Brooklyn Nets. O'Neal maintained that it was still the honeymoon phase for Harden and Embiid. O'Neal said he would have to see how things turn out as the season progresses, especially during the playoffs.

When asked if he'd be willing to crown Embiid and Harden the next Shaq and Kobe, and Big Diesel wasted no time in refuting that statement.

"No. No. Hell, no. Not after one year. Me and Kobe had eight years of damage together. No, not even close. Stop it. Listen, NO, H-NO, and F-NO."

Shaq Daddy was not having it, as it was almost disrespectful to put the Sixers duo, who have just started playing together, in the same conversation. Harden and Embiid have something good going on, but only time will tell how successful they can become.

James Harden has blended in well with his new team

James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up.
James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up.

It took about two weeks for James Harden to make his first appearance for the Sixers since joining the team on the Feb. 10 trade deadline day. But it was worth the wait, as the Philly fans have been treated to spectacular performances from the three-time scoring champ.

Harden has been lethal offensively, making the right reads and shooting at a high clip. In his three games with the Sixers, he has averaged 27.3 points, 12.3 assists and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 59%, including 50% from beyond the arc.

James Harden’s first 3 games in Philly: 27.3 PPG9.0 RPG12.3 APG1.7 SPG59% FG50% 3PT89.7% FT 3-0

The Sixers traded for Harden to provide elite-level support for Embiid, who is playing at an MVP-caliber level, and it is working out great for them so far. The Harden effect is being felt. While he is a dime-dropping delight, he has also taught a few of his new teammates his famed step-back 3-pointer.

With The Beard, the Sixers stand a good chance of making a deep playoffs run. For many, anything short of a Finals appearance will be considered a bust.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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