Shaquille O’Neal said he was jealous while interviewing LeBron James about his GOAT status.
After James broke the NBA’s scoring record last Tuesday, O’Neal jokingly urged the Los Angeles Lakers star to call himself the greatest basketball player of all time. After James attempted to sidestep the conversation, O’Neal admitted he wouldn’t have been as humble.
Near the end of the interview, Shaq asked James if the scoring record makes him the greatest NBA player ever:
“I said at the beginning of this show, I wish that I would’ve had this moment, the chance to pass up Kareem,” O’Neal began. “You now have passed up Kareem. I know what my attitude would’ve been. Does this now make you the greatest player of all time? Are you now the GOAT?”
James seemed reluctant to say surpassing Abdul-Jabbar ended the GOAT discussion, chuckling at the question before noting it’s a fun debate.
“I’m gonna let everybody else decide who that is,” James said. “But it’s great barbershop talk.”
He was not content on letting James get away without offering a direct answer and O’Neal put on his reporter hat and pressured the new all-time scoring leader into calling himself the GOAT, better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson or whoever else you want to put into the conversation.
“It was a professional jealousy moment,” O’Neal told Extra’s Melvin Robert on Sunday. “If it was me, I would have been arrogant for 19 seconds. … I know he is a humble kid, I know he is going to give the answer, ‘I don’t want to be involved in the debate of who the greatest (is).’
“I am jealous of having the conversation. … Everybody would love to be in that position.”
O’Neal sits eighth on the all-time list with 28,596 points.
Meanwhile, James etched his name in the record books by becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history. He put up 38 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career scoring leader, a record that stood for nearly 39 years.
.@SHAQ: “Does this now make you the greatest player of all time?”@KingJames: “I’m gonna take myself against anybody that’s ever played this game. … I always feel like I’m the best to ever play this game.” pic.twitter.com/5mzrZ59GTG
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 8, 2023