Dwight Howard won’t back down again on the newest criticism aired by Shaquille O’Neal about his current endeavors of playing overseas.
When Howard took Taiwan’s T1 League by storm on his debut this week, dropping 38 points, 25 boards, nine assists, four blocks, and attempting an unexpected 10 three-pointers, basketball circles were amazed at how he is still fully capable of playing at a high level amid his age. The future Hall of Famer even followed it up with another strong showing of 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists for the Taoyuan Leopards.
Despite the general praise he received and continuing to garner on his new career gig, O’Neal didn’t find Howard’s dominance in Taiwan as amusing – noting that the big man is very much expected to drop those massive numbers.
“You should never be complimented for being a good fighter because that’s what you’re supposed to do. He’s supposed to have 30 points playing against a dude 5’8. Good job,” O’Neal said. “This league reminds me of a Lifetime Fitness league every Saturday when I go workout on Saturday. Great job Dwight, I’m proud of you.”
As a response, Howard himself didn’t mince his words as he reacted to O’Neal’s criticism about his robust display down in the Taiwanese League.
He also downplayed the four-time champion’s description of the league, stating that it is “highly disrespectful” amongst his teammates, the entire tourney, and Taiwan locals.
“The world is too big to hate on another man. I’ve never in my life hated on you as a man, as a basketball player, anything like that. Have I joked about or mimicked your voice, have I mimicked what I see on TV? Everybody does that, comedians do that, people do that all the time, and I do that all the time but I do not hate on people,” Howard said on his Instagram live, per BasketNews.
“I know I show love to everyone in the world. Stop hating. I saw a video of you talking about me playing basketball in Taiwan, and I’m playing at a Lifetime Fitness league. Do not disrespect my teammates and this league and these people in Taiwan like that,” he continued. “That is highly disrespectful and it’s hating. You’re too old to be hating. You’re too big to be hating. You’re supposed to be superman, the original superman.”
Both Howard and O’Neal share a lengthy feud, with the latter starting to be offended about the “Superman” moniker that the 36-year-old big man has boasted in the initial part of his Orland Magic youth days. Since he entered the league in 1992, O’Neal has been sporting the “Superman” acknowledgment in the league given his immense power and sheer dominance.
Since then, the two have endured dramatic issues with one another for various concerns.
Howard also claimed that O’Neal is just being filled with jealousy of how he demonstrates in front of the Taiwanese crowd, further defending his teammates on the comparison delivered by the retired big man.
“You’re too old and too wise, because I know you, to be hating, and I don’t think that’s hating, I think that’s jealousy. You have no need to be jealous of anybody. Everybody that you’ve hated on, been jealous of, or talked about, they have loved you at some point,” Howard said.
“I’m not letting the haters win, I’m not mad, I’m passionate about the stuff that I say. This man called my league and my teammates sorry, basically. He called us a Lifetime Fitness league. This isn’t a Lifetime Fitness league. It’s dudes here that are taller than me. Everybody’s goal and dream is to make it to the NBA. Everybody’s not going to make it to the NBA.”
In the end, Howard compared his 19th year of playing against O’Neal. He also took pride in being in shape and in good spirits while still taking the court, in contrast to O’Neal’s status at the said stage of their career.
“We don’t need people hating on other people because they’re not there,” Howard continued. “Shaq, when you were 37 years old, your 19th year in the league, because this would’ve been my 19th year in the league, would you have come to Taiwan and played? Would you have come here and been in shape? I’m 265 [pounds], I’m not 390 pounds. I’m 265 [pounds] and I’m in the best shape of my life.
“You can come out here and give me 38 points, and 25 rebounds? You can talk about the points all you want but you know Shaq that it takes effort to get rebounds, and I’ve got a whole lot of rebounds in my life. It took effort to do that, a lot of effort, a lot of effort to go block shots, a lot of effort to go play basketball for this long. You don’t have a right to be hating,” Howard explained.
“I’m not angry, I just want you all to know. I’m not angry at all.”