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Shaq’s Controversial MVP Comments: Appropriate or Not?

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal stirred up a storm when he expressed his belief that Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic didn’t deserve the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2023-2024 season. The question on everyone’s mind: Was Shaq’s candid opinion appropriate?

The Awkward Interview

During a live interview on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” O’Neal wasted no time in sharing his thoughts with Jokic. “You know I love you,” Shaq began, “you’re the best player in the league, and I want to congratulate you. But I want you to hear it from me first: I thought Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) should’ve been MVP. That’s no disrespect to you, but congratulations.”

Jokic, ever the composed superstar, responded graciously. “Thank you, Shaq,” he said. “We don’t judge people here. That’s fine; it’s your opinion. I’m joking.”

Shaq’s Criteria

Shaq didn’t hold back during the show. He elaborated on why he believed SGA deserved the award over Jokic. According to O’Neal, Gilgeous-Alexander fulfilled his criteria of being a “stat-stuffer” on a number one seed team. SGA’s impressive performance as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s guard caught Shaq’s attention.

The Big Man’s Perspective

Shaq’s comments raise an interesting debate. On one hand, MVP awards are subjective, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Shaq’s honesty reflects his commitment to keeping it real, even if it means raining on someone’s parade.

On the other hand, some argue that the MVP award should strictly consider individual performance, regardless of team success. Jokic’s triple-doubles, basketball IQ, and impact on the Nuggets’ game plan were undeniable. His unique style of play—reminiscent of old-school big men—captivated fans and analysts alike.

The Etiquette Question

So, was Shaq’s candor appropriate? It depends on how we view the role of former players and analysts. While they have the right to express opinions, they also influence public perception. Shaq’s comments could undermine Jokic’s achievement, especially given the rarity of three-time MVP winners.

In the end, perhaps it’s a reminder that sports discussions can be passionate, even heated. As long as respect remains intact, differing opinions contribute to the rich tapestry of NBA conversations.

For now, Jokic continues to bask in the glow of his third MVP trophy, while Shaq’s words linger in the air—a testament to the complexity of MVP debates


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