The ongoing struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers has been the talk of the NBA world over the past few days. Back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, combined with some comments seemingly calling out teammates by LeBron James has had the sport buzzing.
All of the talking heads in the media have weighed in, but few hold as much weight in the Lakers’ sphere as Shaquille O’Neal. In addition to being one of the franchise’s greats, O’Neal dealt with his fair share of drama throughout his Hall of Fame career.
He recently spoke about the Lakers’ problems, believing the players should talk to James face-to-face and raise their level of play rather than sulk, via NBA on TNT:
“It’s something that needs to be addressed. You should just go to him and say, ‘You made some comments. Who are you talking about? What do you mean?’ And then again, as players, it’s no time to sit and sulk. If you don’t want to be traded or talked about, step up. LeBron is used to playing with guys that hit shots and make him look good. He’s not having that right now.”
O’Neal continued that the current Lakers have to be able to move on and step up when it matter most:
“There’s two ways to go about that: say something, guys get sensitive and step up. Or, you say something and guys stay sensitive all year. Look, I was traded six times and never cried about it. You move on. It’s the business of basketball. But, if you want to be a guy that doesn’t get traded, you got to step up. Period.”
There is no doubt that trade rumors are a part of this business and players must be able to handle all that comes their way. Even though their chances at the playoffs seem to be slim right now, the Lakers can make that run if they do exactly what O’Neal says and step up.
To their credit, every member of the Lakers locker room has expressed confidence the team is capable of heading down the right path and making a push to the playoffs.
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