Shaq finally gives props to Joel Embiid originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
We are running out of superlatives for how Joel Embiid has been playing this season. That’s saying something, considering he’s about to start his fourth straight all-star game.
But there’s one significant person who has always been hesitant to praise the 76ers’ big man: Hall of Famer, and TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal.
But the Big Aristotle broke character this morning. In an appearance on The John Kincade Show on 97.5 The Fanatic, O’Neal was effusive when speaking about JoJo.
“He’s playing up to his size,” Shaq said. “He’s playing with a lot more enthusiasm and he’s getting the numbers that it takes to be a big man in the MVP category.”
“Any big man can get 20 [points], any big man can get 23, but it takes a special big man to average over 28 and dominate the way he did.”
“The game he played the other day [against the Bulls] had me in tears. I haven’t seen a big man play that way in a long time. I haven’t seen a big man in the MVP conversation in a long time.”
Wow. Some heavy praise from Shaq, who has offered Embiid anything but praise from his nationally-televised pulpit over the years. However, it wasn’t all throwing roses at Embiid’s feet.
“But! Don’t get too happy,” Shaq warned. “Because in the NBA there are three seasons: the first half [of the regular season], the second half, and the playoffs. And if you dominate in all three seasons, especially the playoffs, then Philadelphia is gonna be a happy city.”