It was one of the more unlikely NBA feuds in a season that featured The Big Event between James Dolan and Charles Oakley.
Still, Shaquille O’Neal vs. JaVale McGee was getting more than its share of attention as it played out over Twitter. It all began when O’Neal went with a McGee lowlight reel on his “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” Along the way, his team, the Golden State Warriors, even lobbied Turner Sports to get Shaq to ease up on McGee and teammate Kevin Durant rose to his defense, saying, “I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”
Among the give-and-go last week on Twitter (the parts deemed acceptable for a family website) were McGee’s “Maybe he’s in love with me …. maybe I should be flattered? IDK GUYS!!” Shaq fired back with, among other comments about “BUM” McGee: “we gonna see how tough you are when I see yo [backside].” McGee responded and Shaq did a little fancy artwork:
It seemed excessive, and, finally, a mature adult to stepped into the cyber version of a playground spat.
“Just say Shaq’s mom called him, told him, ‘Stop this silliness. Leave him alone,’ ” O’Neal told The Undefeated’s Mike Wise. “So that’s the end of the beef. You won’t be hearing about it from my side anymore. Mama has spoken.”
Over to you, Lucille O’Neal. “It’s not funny anymore, seeing the things they’re saying to each other,” she told Wise. “They need to squash this and move on.”
Unfortunately, McGee’s mother, Pamela, wasn’t on board. “If you really want to get technical with it, it’s bullying,” she told Wise. “We all have little jokes and stuff. But when you continue to pick on just one person — as his career is resurrecting — there’s nothing to it but bullying. And it’s unacceptable. You can’t allow someone to continue to do this who represents TNT and the NBA.
“He is a representative of TNT and the NBA. Broadcasters are held to a higher authority. He should lose his job.”
O’Neal says the feud escalated when McGee called him a racial slur. “When Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Wilt [Chamberlain] and Bill [Walton] came at me when I was young, for the most part I just took it. I never said nothing until I won a title. And even then, I realized why they were criticizing me. You know what I was really bothered by — the thing that really got me? Calling me a coon. That’s like calling me a n—–. I didn’t see that coming at all. And that’s mainly why I responded like I did.”
Still, it has gotten a tad ridiculous. Shaq is 44 and Mcgee is 29, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller points out, and their moms had to get involved. Shaq promises it’s over. “His name will never come out of my mouth ever again,” he told Wise.