The 2020-21 NBA season has featured its fair share of ups and downs. It included criticism spewed toward the number of significant injuries, sparked by a passionate reaction from Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. It didn’t take long for Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to strongly oppose James’ perspective.
LeBron James criticizes the NBA regarding 2020-21 season schedule
Over the years, James has never been shy concerning voicing his opinion on any matter.
As injuries continued to pile up in this year’s NBA playoffs, James took to Twitter to air out his frustrations with the league starting the 2020-21 season less than three months after the Orlando Bubble situation.
“They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season. I knew exactly what would happen,” James wrote. “I only wanted to protect the well-being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”. It’s the lack of PURE.
“RIM REST rest before starting back up. 8, possibly 9 ALL-STARS has missed Playoff games(most in league history). This is the best time of the year for our league and fans but missing a ton of our fav players. It’s insane. If there’s one person that knows about the body and how it works all year round it’s ME! I speak for the health of all our players and I hate to see this many injuries this time of the year. Sorry fans wish you guys were seeing all your fav guys right now.”
The high number of significant injuries to star players, along with it heavily impacting James and the Lakers, pushed him to a breaking point. The 2020-21 season featured some prominent players sidelined, making it difficult not to factor in the shortened offseason.
All that didn’t take long for a former NBA great to lash back at James’ point of view.
Shaquille O’Neal blasts LeBron James for complaining about NBA schedule
Any time James takes a prominent position on a given topic, his opinion becomes a lightning rod for discussion.
The four-time league MVP’s recent comments concerning the NBA’s schedule for the 2020-21 season provoked Shaquille O’Neal to chime in. The former Lakers great fired back at James’ comments bashing him for complaining about a shortened offseason when he’s making millions of dollars.
“When you’re living in a world where 40 million people have been laid off and I’m making $200 million, you won’t get no complaining from me,” O’Neal via Fox News. “I’d play back to back to back to back to back.”
O’Neal’s remarks come from the singular approach that a professional athlete shouldn’t complain, given that they are making millions for playing a sport. It’s a privilege that so very few receive, which gave off the vibe to the Hall of Famer that James is undermining the unique opportunity he has had for nearly the last two decades.
Again, it’s not O’Neal bashing James as a person, but he’s clearly not a fan of the star forward’s opinion. In other words, the all-time great big man holds a strong take that counteracts his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate’s perspective.
Must move forward and learn from the unique experience
The two contrasting perspectives aside, the NBA managed to put forth an entire season despite lingering concern with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league may have begun the 2020-21 campaign earlier than what many players like James wanted. The playoffs have also been heavily impacted by injuries to star players such as James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
However, injuries are part of the game, and this year was always going to be impacted differently due to how late the Orlando Bubble situation finished. The 2020-21 campaign became a battle of attrition that has seen the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks reach the brink of capturing the 2021 NBA title.
Nonetheless, the mentality must shift toward prepping for next season with a renewed focus.