Shaquille O’Neal Thinks Russell Westbrook Was ‘Showing Too Much Respect’ Last Season

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shaquille O’Neal Thinks Russell Westbrook Was ‘Showing Too Much Respect’ Last Season


The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook in a trade during the summer of 2021 with the hope that he along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would form a championship-caliber core. However, it didn’t work out that way and Westbrook simply struggled to find his footing.

Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game on 44.4% shooting from the field last season, but his fit was always a topic of discussion. It’s no secret that Westbrook needs the ball in his hands to be effective, but he can’t do that as much while playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who also need the ball to operate. The fact that Westbrook is a poor shooter doesn’t help the team as well.

So the Los Angeles Lakers ended up being a massive disappointment in last year’s NBA season, missing the NBA playoffs with a record of 33 wins and 49 losses. And while the Lakers showed a ton of problems, many fans and basketball pundits believe that Russell Westbrook was the main reason the team underachieved.

Shaquille O’Neal however doesn’t share that opinion. According to the former Lakers center, Westbrook simply showed too much respect leading to him playing too passive.

Per Uproxx:


“I don’t think it was his age. I think he was just, and I say this respectfully, I just think he was showing too much respect. I don’t care who I’m playing with it, I’m giving you 28. Fans pay a lot of money for me to make $100 million, I’m giving you 28. It’s not, “every time I get the ball, look for the other stars,” he can play, too, so when I got the ball, I’m gonna do my thing. I can’t do my thing, I’m looking for him. That’s how you got to play. You just can’t concede all the time — here, here, here. Nah, throw me the ball, let me go to work. I gotta average 28 and 15 for personal reason and for these fans.

He was just being too nice. I don’t know the relationship between him and LeBron, but if you put that down on paper and I don’t know nothing about basketball, that’s a hell of a backcourt, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. Why it didn’t work, I don’t know, but watching him play, he was super passive. I don’t need you to be passive, I need you to play your game. I’ll be calling plays, when you get the ball after they miss a shot, run, if you ain’t got nothin, pull it out, give it to LeBron, and call some plays. That’s how it was me, he was just thinking too much. He’s a guy that, when he plays freely, he’s a monster.”


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