Complex- There are a lot of NBA players who struggle to deal with retirement. They don't know what to do once they hang up their sneakers for good. Shaquille O'Nealisn't one of those guys. During a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, he was asked if he ever wishes he were still playing in the league and he said, "Never."
The WSJ then asked him if there are any current players that he would want to play against.
"No, I'd beat 'em all," he said. "I'd beat 'em all up."
So then, the WSJ tried to throw Anthony Davis' name out there, just to see if Shaq was serious. And as it turns out, he is. He really doesn't have any interest in playing against any of today's NBA players.
"Too little for me," he said, while speaking about Davis. "That's barbecue chicken down there."
As someone that lived through the years of the Lakers dominance, I got a lot of respect for what Shaq brought to the table at the center position. I can appreciate how unstoppable he was offensively and how much of a force he was on the interior. I'll even give him this, he would turn Anthony Davis into barbecue chicken...for about one quarter of basketball. As comical as it would be watching Anthony Davis trying to stop Shaq from getting to the basketball hoop, it would be 10x as hilarious watching Shaq try to defend to Anthony Davis. Hell, he would need a breathing tube at halftime, and would likely be in full blown cardiac arrest come the end of the 3rd quarter.
Shaquille O'Neal is an all-time great, so this might be a little tough for him to hear, but he's very lucky he played basketball in the era that he did. You know why there are no more players like Shaq? Well, for one, he was a once in a generation player, but also because those types of players have been made obsolete by the NBA's emphasis on athleticism, running the floor, and three point shooting. In comparison to the Lakers glory years, basketball has become a track meet, and if I remember correctly, even in his youth Shaq wasn't the most flight of foot.There would be teams in the league that would turn Shaq into a situational player, and not someone you could rely upon to win you games. The NBA has evolved. Anthony Davis is the best possible version of what it means to be a big man in the NBA now. A player that can take people off the dribble, shoot out to the 3-point line, make foul shots, rebound the ball, and facilitate with the best of them. He would definitely get abused in the paint by O'Neal, but let's not act like we are talking about Vlade Divac here. Anthony Davis would have Shaq wheezing like a fat asthmatic in gym class trying to get back on defense. If we are going to be completely honest here, in terms of athletic talent, Shaq isn't even in the same stratosphere as Anthony Davis. The advantages he would have over him on the basketball court would begin and end with size and strength. While those are admirable qualities, if are going under the assumption that Shaq could turn Anthony Davis into a flightless bird, then Anthony Davis could turn Shaq into the world's largest parking cone.