The Warriors aren't happy with Shaquille O'Neal's coverage of JaVale McGee, and Shaq doesn't seem to care

Ball Don't Lie
JaVale McGee and Shaquille O’Neal are still going at it. (Getty Images)
JaVale McGee and Shaquille O’Neal are still going at it. (Getty Images)

After the feud between Hall of Fame center turned “Inside the NBA” commentator Shaquille O’Neal and third-string Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee achieved “threats of violence on Twitter” status on Thursday night, our Dan Devine expressed hope this strange obsession would end there.

It didn’t. Both the Warriors and O’Neal didn’t hesitate to escalate the matter to another level Friday.

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The Golden State brass have reached out to Turner Sports with their concerns about Shaq’s coverage of McGee, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes. Shaq did not heed those concerns.


Warriors coach Steve Kerr and star Kevin Durant also vehemently defended their guy, suggesting the “Shaqtin’ A Fool” segment, which has long poked fun at McGee and reached “over-the-top” levels with a “Doctor Strange” spoof starring the 7-footer, has done irreparable damage to his reputation.

“JaVale works extremely hard, has come in here and done extremely well as a player,” said Durant, via The Mercury News beat reporter Anthony Slater. “He only wants to be respected like anybody else. I understand that Shaq works for a company that wants him to do that type of stuff, make fun of players. It’s cool, it’s funny, but when you keep doing it time and time and time again and a guy actually disagrees with you and you threaten him, I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”

(O’Neal was sworn in as a reserve police officer in South Florida with a “Shaqtin’ A Fool”-ish resume.)

“It’s definitely childish,” added Durant. “But that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players is to feud with the guy who’s playing now and make arguments and disagreements. If I was JaVale, I’d feel the same way. It’s childish.”

And Durant wasn’t done, claiming the criticism was costing McGee money, and then going in on Shaq:


“Shaq was a sh**** free throw shooter, he missed dunks, he airballed free throws, he couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everyone, didn’t have no skill, bigger and stronger than everyone. Still a great player, but you had your flaws as a player and you played on five or six teams, too. So it’s not like he’s just some perfect center. You had your flaws, too. I didn’t know cops could go on Twitter and threaten civilians like that. I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”

That’s quite the shortsighted synopsis of a 15-time All-Star and four-time NBA champion’s career. Then again, Shaq’s always overly criticized McGee for making mistakes and not living up to some arbitrary standard he’s set for the journeyman center, so an exaggerated critique is a taste of his own medicine.

Durant’s comments came a day after McGee stood up to Shaq (again) in a series of tweets, including:


To which Shaq responded with a Twitter rant of his own, including:


And McGee countered:


Believe it or not, that back-and-forth devolved even more. Like Durant, Kerr defended his center’s social media response on Friday while scolding O’Neal for his years of tirelessly needling McGee:


“You think about JaVale’s career where you’re in this position where someone on national TV is making fun of you night after night,” said Kerr, via The Mercury News. “It’s not the greatest thing for your reputation. I can tell you that I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before I got here that turned out to be false. A lot of that is what goes on with Shaqtin’ A Fool. It’s unfortunate. It’s kind of the way this whole thing has played out. It’s too bad.”

[…]

“JaVale has been fantastic for us as a player, as a teammate, fantastic guy,” added Kerr. “He’s funny, he’s fun to be around, he does his job. He’s a total pro. I don’t blame him for being frustrated. Shaq has been picking on him for years and years and years and JaVale, rightfully so, is frustrated. It never ends. It’s one thing to have a little fun. But I think he can go a little over the top.”

This isn’t Durant or the Warriors’ first spat with a TNT cohost. Charles Barkley suggested the 2014 NBA MVP was trying to “cheat” his way to a title and called Golden State’s style of play was “girly basketball.” Neither is it a TNT cohost’s first spat with one of the game’s most prominent players. Barkley also had a public feud with LeBron James over his coverage of the Cleveland Cavaliers star.

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You wonder at what point the commissioner will have to step in to mediate this growing divide between stars on the NBA’s two best teams and Hall of Fame panelists for the league’s broadcast partner. Whether or not these two NBA generations can sort out their differences, it’s safe to say this is more embarrassing than anything McGee ever did to end up on a Shaqtin’ A Fool segment.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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