There are only a few things that truly concern me in life. We won’t go into all of them — because that’s probably a conversation I’d rather have with my wife or perhaps one of my close friends — but one of them is bullying.
It could be middle school: Some big kid who has friends beating up on a smaller kid with a smaller social circle. It could be on a sports team: The coach’s son/star player disparaging the walk-on kid who can’t quite run fast (or hit well), but his heart is in the right place.
It could be politics. It could be something as innocuous as shopping at the grocery store. But however bullying comes about, we need to remember that it’s a scourge.
To that end, why the f—k has Shaquille O'Neal become obsessed with messing with JaVale McGee?!
I don’t understand it, and I don’t feel like I want to understand it.
JaVale has had his missteps — sure — but, just ... What is the thinking process behind roasting the dude for FOUR OR FIVE YEARS STRAIGHT?? How does this make any sense?!
Shaq has a huge audience, both on television and on social media. I don’t, personally, believe that he deserves that audience — mumble, mumble, etc — but here we are. Why does he continue to crap all over McGee? Why has he chosen such a target?
Okay, backing up.
Yesterday, the NBA on TNT crew (who, incidentally, has been wallowing in controversy all year), aired this #ShaqtinAFool spot:
To which JaVale said:
Aight y'all I'm done responding... I think— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) February 24, 2017
Eventually followed by:
Last thing: think about this.... h3 woke up and I was the 1st thing on his mind when he made that video…THAT AINT WIERD TO YALL?— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) February 24, 2017
(Honestly, it is weird to me that Shaq is obsessed with JaVale)
Maybe he's in love with me.... maybe I should be flattered? IDK GUYS!! pic.twitter.com/Buqyqc2PBb— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) February 24, 2017
But, things quickly escalated, as Shaq jumped into the fire storm, tweeting his own nonsense.
[Warning: NSFW language]
To which JaVale said this:
Oh we threatening people now? Kick rocks you old bastard... you ain't gone do sh** !!! And that's on my mama... stick to cooning! https://t.co/ZFuGREc1WJ— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) February 24, 2017
To which Shaq said THIS:
To which JaVale said THIIIIIIS:
Forget being on a good team... Ima grown man... you've had these 's in yo mouth for 5-6 years now... u thought I was just gone stay silent? https://t.co/3gTpTgVgmU— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) February 24, 2017
Quote: “You’ve had these [“peanuts”] in yo mouth for 5-6 years now... u thought I was just gone stay silent?”
I guess my main question is: Why?
Why does Shaq feel so insecure that he needs to go after JaVale McGee, time and time again? Who has JaVale ever wronged? Is there some weird behind-the-scenes-thing going on here? Did these guys come across some beef in the road in an accidental fashion that they’ve never been able to forget?
Perhaps Durant said it best, when asked about this strange, head-scratching level of vitriolic beef:
Kevin Durant comes to JaVale McGee's defense vs Shaq: "I didn't know cops could threaten civilians like that" pic.twitter.com/gsx79h04c8— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 24, 2017
“JaVale, he works extremely hard. He’s come in here and done so much for us, as a player. He only wants to be respected, just like anyone else. I understand Shaq works for, uh, a company that wants him to do that type of stuff. Make fun of the players. It’s cool and funny. But when he just keeps doing it time and time and time again — for no reason — and then a guy actually disagrees with you, and you threaten him ... I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that. So, you know, it’s definitely childish, and ... But, that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players is to feud with the guys that are playing now.”
Damn, Durant. That feels true.
But, moreover, later in the interview, he got to the crux of it.
Snippet of Durant saying Shaq wasn't the perfect player either: couldn't hit a free throw, didn't get any steals... pic.twitter.com/LXafYwc2ci— LetsGoWarriors (@LetsGoWarriors) February 24, 2017
“Still, everybody can’t be Shaq, you know what I’m saying? [McGee is] trying to make his money, and enjoy the game of basketball, and this perception of him now is that he’s a dumb player because he makes mistakes out on the court ... Shaq was a shitty free throw shooter, he missed dunks, he air-balled free throws. He couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everybody, he didn’t have any skills. But he was bigger and stronger than everybody, and he’s still a great player, but ... You had your flaws too, as a player. And he played on five or six teams, too, so it’s not like he was just this perfect center. You had your flaws too. [...] I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”
Shaq is now — whether he admits it or not — a member of the media. I am also a member of the media. That makes us the two most unlikely paired fellas in the world. But, regardless, I could not in all good conscience write, “don't be acting like u a g I'll smack the s**t out yo bum ass u da one that be looking stupid with your dumb ass #bumass,” and somehow expect to keep my job.
Nate would take me out back and banish me into the fiery abyss where SBNation bloggers go to die.
But, again, that’s my point. I’m a no-body. I don’t matter. I don’t swing the pendulum of national discourse. And so the fact that I’d be fired for this is only more of a referendum on Shaq, right? I mean, his platform is a kajillion times bigger. We are all talking about this.
And, it’s not like this is the first time their TV show has drawn controversy. Do I need to remind this audience of the strange things Barkley has said?
I guess a deeper question I have is: Are we solely in it for the clicks? Or for the controversy? Are the major NBA TV stations now actively encouraging hate and bullying? If so, perhaps I might step aside. You know, watch this one from the sidelines. Because I’m with JaVale on this one: Why the F are they so up in his business?
Back off Shaq/TNT. It’s not a good look.