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"Them old heads need to go enjoy retirement" - Kevin Durant and LeBron James sound off on recent criticism by former players | NBA News

NBA star Donovan Mitchell
NBA star Donovan Mitchell
Modified 23 Jan 2021

In the most recent NBA News, there has been a continuation of the battle between the media and the players. The exposure that the league has across America, and indeed the world, often brings current stars performances into the spotlight for criticism or positivity from retired players to give opinions on.

Thursday night brought the latest drama between Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal and Donovan Mitchell, the debate from which has since rumbled on into Friday with several other players having their say on the issue.

NBA News: Kevin Durant and LeBron James weigh in on the legitimacy of criticism from former players

Former NBA legend Shaquille O
Former NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal

After it emerged in NBA News yesterday that former 4-time champion Shaquille O'Neal felt, and told, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell that he didn't have what it takes to get his game to the next level, there was understandable disappointment and anger among the league's community of players, media and fans. This came as the most recent criticism of current stars by league veterans, though was engaged with more widely by the NBA's best players.

After the dust had settled following Shaq's awkward interview with Mitchell, there was still talk of the incident within NBA News, with the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant having their say on the matter. The former had this to say:

"There's a difference between constructive criticism and soft hating though. I've seen it both ways come my way, mostly the hate. You can hear it in their delivery."

If there were any player with experience of media criticism it is LeBron James. On countless occasions, the forward has had to face repetitive hate and comparison with Michael Jordan. Rather than just enjoy his ability and performances, such as is the case with Mitchell, some former players have chosen in the past to criticize a star rather than boost them by passing on their experience and knowledge.

Mitchell is a young player who is still improving and has continued his development with the Utah Jazz in his four seasons. This year, the shooting guard is averaging a career-high in points, assists and 3-point percentage. In the corner of the 24-year old is also Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who himself has faced criticism in the past and is never shy to speak honestly with reporters. Durant had this to say about the recent criticism from former players:

"Them old heads need to go enjoy retirement. These boys have coaches they work with everyday."

Kevin Durant recently had his own run-in with another member of the NBA TNT panel, Charles Barkley, who said that certain players get preferential treatment for a COVID vaccine due to the amount of taxes they pay. To that, the two-time Finals MVP stated simply:

"I don't know why they still ask for that idiot's opinion."

Whether the critique of current players is warranted is up for debate. However, on this occasion, it was deemed too far even by Shaquille O'Neal's usual standards. Arguments between the two sides will continue on as veterans feel they know the game best while the current crop of stars will protect their own. Still, it makes for an entertaining watch.

Published 23 Jan 2021, 05:05 IST
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