Over the years, the Los Angeles Lakers have had the luxury of possessing many of the game’s greatest players. Lakers president Jeanie Buss recently attempted to narrow that list down to five names but caught much ire for leaving out Shaquille O’Neal.
The Hall of Famer didn’t waste much time providing his two cents.
Jeanie Buss leaves Shaquille O’Neal off all-time Lakers list
Since becoming Lakers president, Jeanie Buss has remained a prominent public fixture.
However, Buss became engulfed in media headlines after her recent appearance on the All The Smoke podcast due to various intriguing comments.
The bulk of the chatter centered on her list of the five most important Lakers in team history. Buss named Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Phil Jackson.
She received intense criticism for her choices. Many didn’t expect her to choose the Hall of Fame head coach over a player. People also question why she didn’t name other all-time greats such as Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, or Jerry West.
Buss didn’t have to wait long to hear a reaction from one of the Hall of Famers left off her exclusive list.
Shaquille O’Neal spews his honest feelings after being left off Jeanie Buss’ all-time Lakers list
It didn’t take long for O’Neal to react to Buss’ all-time Lakers list.
During the latest episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, the Hall of Famer took the professional route.
“I’m 49 years old,” said O’Neal. “For the past 10 years, [I’ve learned] you have to respect people’s opinion, even if their opinion is not [the same as] yours. I love Jeanie Buss. I have never, would never say anything negative about Jeanie Buss.
“She gave me $120 million, $100 million, another $80 million. I would never, ever in my life say anything negative about Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. That is her opinion. I respect her opinion.”
O’Neal understands the pivotal role Buss and her family have played in shaping his life. He knows the Lakers hold tremendous respect and gratitude for his time playing for the franchise.
LA’s actions speak louder through honoring him with a statue in front of Staples Center and retiring his number. O’Neal is well aware of where he stands in Lakers lore, and no comments from a podcast will change that.
Jeanie Buss responds to the criticism
O’Neal brushed off any hurt feelings from Buss’ comments, but it didn’t stop the latter from clearing the air.
The Lakers president took to Twitter on Wednesday to voice that O’Neal is undoubtedly a top-five most important player in team history.
“Well maybe if you made more of your free throws….just kidding,” Buss said. “Big Diesel if the list was only players, of course, you’re top 5! You know I love you and your family!! Please don’t kick me off the board of The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation!!”
Buss stands by her stance with Jackson in her top five, but her list was never a shot at anybody who didn’t make it. The criticism directed at her focuses entirely on O’Neal’s absence and nothing more.
She has more than a fair argument for choosing Jackson given his longevity with LA, helping guide it to five NBA titles. Beyond all that, it’s crystal clear that there isn’t any rift between Buss and O’Neal.