Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq makes virtual cameo appearance at Kings-Pelicans in NBA bubble

Shaq makes virtual cameo appearance at Kings-Pelicans in NBA bubble

You never know who’s watching. 

For the Kings, it’s NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, who also happens to be a minority owner of the team. He made an appearance, virtually of course, as a fan during the Kings' 140-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, 

It appeared he got the attention of Bogdan Bogdanovic. 

O'Neal has been a minority owner of the team since 2013 after purchasing between two and four percent of the franchise, according to Forbes. 

That’s quite strange when you really think about it, as the former Los Angeles Laker became a bit of a villain in the old rivalry between the two teams.

Shaq once referred to the Kings as the “Sacramento Queens,” and even allegedly mooned Kings fans one time as the Lakers bus pulled out of ARCO Arena after Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference finals. That was a story the late Kobe Bryant told back in 2018.

Apparently it was all in response to fans mooning the Lakers before the game. After the win, Shaq returned the favor.  

[RELATED: Kings struggling, but Fox's production a silver lining]

We’re just glad Shaq used his face in this appearance this time.

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Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaquille O'Neal won't back down from this debate.

The Hall of Fame center is 100 percent convinced his three-peat Los Angeles Lakers were better than the Steph Curry and Kevin Durant-led Warriors.

Shaq has made it clear over the last two years that he believes the 1999 through 2002 championship Lakers would have easily beaten the 2016 through 2019 Warriors in a hypothetical matchup.

The Diesel even claimed that the Warriors wouldn't have been a contender during the Lakers' dominant run.

But in an interview with Maxim Magazine published Tuesday, Shaq said the Lakers starters would have won every 1-on-1 matchup with the Warriors.

Brace yourselves, Warriors fans.

"I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time (Phil Jackson), plus me and Kobe [Bryant], wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang," Shaq said. "Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. [Derek] Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. [Rick] Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace [Grant] would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind [Zaza] Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Where do we even begin?

Yes, Kobe was an elite defender, but Curry is a generational talent. He would not have been dominated by Bryant. Steph against a prime Kobe would have been must-see TV, but it wouldn't have been as one-sided as Shaq believes.

If Shaq thinks Klay would be manhandled by anyone, let alone Fisher, he hasn't watched the Warriors shooting guard enough. Thompson has five inches on Fisher and would just shoot right over him.

If Fox tried to bully Draymond, the Warriors forward would pull a Doug Christie and sock him in the jaw. Draymond's motor would give him the edge in that matchup.

Durant would get his against Grant or any other defender the Lakers threw at him. You know who he is. He's Kevin Durant.

The only matchup the Lakers win hands down is Shaq vs. Zaza. Sorry, Zaza.

Shaq's Lakers were able to do something the Warriors weren't able to do: Three-peat. But Golden State very likely would have accomplished the feat if Durant and Thompson had been healthy for the entirety of the 2019 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Why Curry, Dubs would dominate Lakers]

Yes, Shaq has every right to defend his Lakers teams, but to say they would completely dominate those Warriors teams is a bit far-fetched. Before Durant arrived, the Warriors won 73 games. After he signed, they steamrolled the league on their way to back-to-back NBA titles, and could have three-peated.

This debate will never be settled, but one thing is for sure. Shaq won't let it go.

Warriors coach Jarron Collins remembers playing Shaq, NBA legends

Warriors coach Jarron Collins remembers playing Shaq, NBA legends

Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins had a 10-year NBA career, spanning from 2001 to 2011. The 6-foot-11 center reminisced about his playing days with a funny story on the Runnin’ Plays Podcast, saying the player who gave him the most trouble was former Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal. 

“His physical strength was incredible,” Collins recalled.

Collins and his twin brother, Jason, would talk often about strategies to defend Shaq. “We would flop, quite frankly. We’d try to draw offensive fouls and try to get him out of the game that way.”

Jarron and Jason did not play on the same team during their NBA careers, but Shaq was familiar with the Collins brothers. 

“Shaq knew my brother and I would flop, so his very first post move and very first foul, he’d get his money’s worth,” Jarron said. 

“He’d be on the right block, take two hard dribbles to the middle and drop step back to the baseline. When he would drop step, he’d put all 340 lbs into his right arm and just take this whole thing ..."

Collins paused to demonstrate a wrecking ball slamming into the side of his body. "... And put me to sleep right there!” 

Former San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan also gave Collins trouble.

“That guy is so skilled as a basketball player," Collins said. "You try to take away players’ A move, you take away their counters, their B moves, and when a guy goes to their C moves and he’s still killing you, it’s like, alright man. I need some help. When’s the double coming?”

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Collins scrolled through his memories for more players he enjoyed competing against, too. 

“Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand," Collins listed. "Every night, go down a list of guys. Guys are talented in this league.” 

Logan Murdock and I asked Collins on the podcast if he could play in today’s NBA. His retirement in 2011 isn’t too far in the rearview mirror.

Collins joked and puffed his chest a little.

[RELATED: Kerr 'enjoying every second' of recent return to Dad Life]

“You guys have been to the gym early. You’ve seen my corner threes. What I’m saying is, I’ve expanded my game," Collins said. "I saw the viral video of Big Perk doing the ball handling. I’m about to put my own video out. I saw the Shamgod. He only did it right to left. I can do it left to right AND right to left.” 

You could hear the smile in Collins’ voice.

“All I’m saying is, my game has grown immensely," Collins said. "I’m more like my guy Channing Frye nowadays.”