One of the more controversial moments of the NBA Playoffs thus far came in the hours after the Los Angeles Lakers Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors. In the fourth quarter, Anthony Davis took an elbow to the head from Kevon Looney and had to be removed from the game.
Afterwards, on TNT’s Inside the NBA postgame show, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley began laughing while discussing the injury, something that has become a common theme when Davis suffers in-game injuries. The moment received plenty of backlash, including from Warriors forward Draymond Green.
But O’Neal does not believe he has anything to apologize for, as he is claiming that he and Barkley were not laughing at Davis’ injury at all, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic:
Regarding the laughter, O’Neal said, “It doesn’t matter what we were laughing about. I’m laughing at (Barkley), he’s laughing at me. I’m not going to get into it.”
O’Neal said that laughing at someone’s injury is not reflective of his character, but again took a jab at Davis despite reports that already said Davis was likely to play in Game 6:
On whether or not he was mocking Davis’ injury, O’Neal said, “I ain’t making fun of nobody, that’s not what I do. But I do know you’re not going to stop me from playing in that Game 6.”
The former Lakers star said that it’s not in his nature to miss time due to injury, going as far as to reveal how that mentality has affected him since:
“You see why I walk funny?” O’Neal said. “Because I sucked it up. You see why my toes don’t bend? Because I sucked it up.”
There’s no denying that O’Neal played through a number of injuries over the course of his Hall of Fame career. And it’s possible that, had he been playing in today’s era, he may have still fought through it and had the same mentality that he had in the 1990s and 2000s.
But to use it as an excuse for laughing at a player’s head injury certainly doesn’t make him look good. And to deny laughing at Davis altogether is simply untrue, as there is video evidence of him doing so on Inside the NBA.
Davis is not one to let these kinds of things affect him, but perhaps he’ll come out with an extra fire in Game 6 against the Warriors in a potential close-out game.
Davis avoids concussion protocol; is probable for Friday
Davis figures to be in the lineup for the Lakers when they take the court in L.A. on Friday. He avoided concussion protocol and is being listed as probable for Game 6, as the Lakers try to close out the Warriors and set up a Western Conference Finals appearance against the Denver Nuggets.
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