Shaquille O’Neal throws down a challenge for Sixers star Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is the reigning league MVP and has been absolutely terrific to begin the 2023-24 season. His season averages have been better than his MVP season of 2022-23 as he continues to take big steps forward as a player.

However, Embiid has yet to get it done in the playoffs. The Sixers have not been past Round 2 during his time leading the group and that has been the one big knock on his resume.

Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal threw down a challenge to Embiid on “The Big Podcast with Shaq”. O’Neal recalled a story with another Hall of Famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the reason for his challenge to Embiid:

I’m gonna give it to him like Kareem gave it to me. He should take it as disrespectful because that’s how I took it. I was averaging big numbers with LA, but we kept getting swept. Like okay ‘Shaq you’re doing it in the regular season. What about in the playoffs?’ They ask Kareem ‘What do you think about Shaq?’ and Kareem says ‘Well, he hasn’t won any championships yet’.So that’s my message to Mr. Embiid. We know what you can do, but can you do it at the big dance? Can you get the phone number at the big dance and can you take it home and close the deal? And that’s why I say Joker (Nikola Jokic) is the best big man in the league. We all know Joel Embiid is the best big man when it comes to numbers and all that, but Joker went to the big dance and got that thing done.

To O’Neal’s point, yes. The Nuggets are the defending champions as Jokic got it done in Denver. However, he was essentially in the same boat Embiid was before his title run. Jokic was able to overcome the past playoff failures and get the Nuggets to the mountaintop. Embiid must do the same for the Sixers.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire