Over the years, the relationship between Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal has featured several rocky moments. The two big men traded public barbs over the years leading to an often testy vibe between them. Shortly after joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard’s latest actions via Instagram may have rekindled the beef with O’Neal.
Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal hold long-lasting beef
Since Howard chose to wear the Superman cape during the 2008 Slam Dunk contest, O’Neal hasn’t exactly seen eye to eye with him.
The two festered lingering friction over the years that featured the latter bashing the eight-time All-Star after each of his shortcomings. Much of which centers on Howard’s lack of progression in his offensive game that O’Neal believes limited him from reaching his full potential.
It led the Hall of Famer to proclaim in 2012 that Andrew Bynum and Brook Lopez were better players than the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howard defended himself on numerous occasions but has chosen to take the high road in recent years.
O’Neal bashed Howard for crying after winning his first NBA title last year with the Lakers, but the 35-year-old issued a non-combative response. However, his latest actions may have sparked more tension between the two big men.
Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal rekindle beef after a harmless gesture on Instagram
Howard‘s second stint with the Lakers ended with bantering between the two big men.
It didn’t take long for the two to jabber at each other again as the eight-time All-Star officially began his third tenure with Los Angeles. The 35-year-old chose to stream his entire inductor press conference on Friday through Instagram live.
After that, Howard decided to interact with fans through the app while eating with his family at the Lakers’ practice facility. It led him to playfully imitate O’Neal’s voice, as he’s done several times in the past.
The Hall of Fame big man quickly caught wind of Howard’s actions as he reposted the video on Instagram with the caption, “Not bad @dwighthoward reminds me of your game SO SO.”
O’Neal responded with a light-hearted response, but it’s sprinkled in with some genuine feelings. Since stepping into retirement, the former Lakers star has been one of his most prominent critics, primarily due to his issues stemming from the Superman nickname.
Howard hasn’t responded to O’Neal’s comments but will likely take the high road as he did last year after the Hall of Famer bashed him after winning the NBA title. There is no ill-will rooted from either party, but it shows that pettiness will always remain between them.
Focus remains on helping the Lakers win another NBA title
The social media bantering aside, Dwight Howard‘s focus lies directly toward helping the Lakers compete for another NBA title.
Howard may have spent a year away with the 76ers, but he’s stepping back into a familiar situation. He will assume the same spot he played in the 2019-20 season as a significant frontcourt piece.
Howard may start, or be the primary backup center behind Marc Gasol. Regardless, his presence will bring much-needed rim protection Los Angeles lacked last season.
He isn’t the player he once was, but he’s more than capable of being a high-impact factor in a set limited role. On top of that, he’s well aware of the unique circumstances this time around with the retooled roster.
”It’s something that’s really hard to fathom, seeing all of us on the floor at the same time. Not on an All-Star team or an Olympic team or like a charity game,” said Howard via the Associated Press. ”I think it’s going to be awesome this year to have everybody on the floor practicing and understanding that it’s only one mission – a championship.”
It’s a unique opportunity in Los Angeles that Howard is more than willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make the most out of the situation.