Even with the vast majority of player movement done, the Los Angeles Lakers remain in the news with some unexpected drama heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
Howard and O’Neal have long had a bit of a rivalry that extends back to the latter’s time with the Orlando Magic. At that time, Howard began to refer to himself as ‘Superman’ — which had long been the primary nickname for O’Neal. Combine that with Howard basically following O’Neal’s footsteps by going from the Magic to the Lakers and it only served to further the issues.
Now with Howard now back in Los Angeles, O’Neal has taken the opportunity to take a couple more shots at him, most recently in squashing another potential old issue with Bryant. But Howard is refusing to get sucked into the drama, saying on his Instagram Live that O’Neal’s comments are irrelevant to his current goals, via TMZ Sports:
“It’s OK, I’m not here to talk about Shaq. What he said, what he did. It’s irrelevant to what I’m trying to do.”
This is definitely the better route for Howard to take right now considering his situation, especially in the public eye. Howard has a lot to prove in the eyes of many Lakers fans and going back and forth with a legend like O’Neal would do him no favors, regardless of who is right and who is wrong.
For Howard right now, it is all about his actions and proving to everybody that he has truly changed. It sounds as if he is in that mindset:
“So, don’t talk to me about what anybody else said about me. My focus is on one thing.”
Howard’s goal is the same as everyone on the Lakers and that is to win a championship. While there are some concerns about the roster, one thing that is for certain is there are a lot of motivated players with a lot to prove and Howard fits that mold perfectly.
Based on the way Howard’s career has gone the last few years, he is an easy target for a lot of people, especially one in which he has history with O’Neal.
However, by ignoring that and remaining focused on what he hopes to accomplish, Howard could go a long way into turning a lot of detractors back on his side.