Warriors

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

OAKLAND -- The long-simmering acrimony between retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and Warriors center JaVale McGee reached epic proportions late Thursday night and early Friday morning when the two engaged in a Twitter beef.

By Friday afternoon, Kevin Durant was stepping into the fray. He didn’t bother with Twitter, instead speaking his mind and firing verbal grenades at Shaq.

“JaVale works extremely hard,” Durant said after practice. “He has come in here and done so much for us as a player. He only wants to be respected, just like anybody else. And I understand that Shaq works for a company that wants him to do that type of stuff, and make fun of players. It’s cool and funny.

“But when you just keep doing it time and time and time again, for no reason, and then a guy actually disagrees with you? And you threaten him? I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”

O’Neal currently is a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla. He also has served in that capacity in several other cities.

The latest O’Neal-McGee spat began when O’Neal, now an analyst at TNT who frequently targets McGee for ridicule, presented a video Thursday night that mocked McGee. It was very personal.

McGee took offense and responded on Twitter, which led to the two men exchanging insults, with McGee accusing O’Neal of “cooning,” and O’Neal calling McGee “dumb” and threatening to “smack the s--t out” of McGee.

Though McGee was not available Friday, he was sharply defended by Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Durant.

“It’s definitely childish,” Durant said. “But that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players, is to feud with the guys that are playing now and make arguments and disagreements. If I was JaVale, I’d feel the same way. It’s childish.

“Shaq wants to make a joke about it, but if it was him in that position, he would feel the same way.

“Everybody can’t be Shaq. He’s trying to make his money and enjoy the game of basketball, and his perception of him is that he’s a ‘dumb’ player because he makes mistakes on the court. Shaq was a sh---y free-throw shooter. He missed dunks. He air-balled free throws. He couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everybody. He didn’t have any skill. But he was bigger and stronger than everybody.”

Durant then turned his head and seemed to speak directly to O’Neal.

“He was still a great player, but you had your flaws too as a player,” he said. “And you played on five of six teams, too. So it’s not like you’re this perfect center. You had your flaws too. Like I said, I didn’t know cops could go on Twitter and threaten civilians like that. I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”

Kerr, who has known O’Neal for more than 20 years, also came to McGee’s defense.

“I don’t blame him for being frustrated,” he said Kerr. “Shaq’s been picking on him for years and years and years. And JaVale, rightfully so, probably gets frustrated. It never ends. And it’s one thing to just have a little fun, but you can go a little bit over the top.

“It’s one of those things. If you think about JaVale’s career, when you’re in this position where someone is on national TV making fun of you night after night, it’s not the greatest thing for your reputation.

“I can tell you, I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before he got here that turned out to be totally false. And a lot of that was because of what goes on with Shaq’s ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ thing.”

***

Shaq responded to Durant Friday on Twitter, writing "@KDTrey5 mind yo business this ain't for you," and "@KDTrey5 I understand u sticking up for your teammate that's cool but your boy @JaValeMcGee34 is still a bum, he started it I'm a finish it."

Why Monta Ellis' Warriors game-winner vs. Nets is proudest NBA moment

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AP

Why Monta Ellis' Warriors game-winner vs. Nets is proudest NBA moment

The 2006-07 NBA season was a special one for Monta Ellis.

He won the league's Most Improved Player award, playing a pivotal role for the "We Believe" Warriors. Golden State won its first playoff series in over a decade, upsetting the defending Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks as a No. 8 seed.

Those Warriors hold a special place in the team's history, and the award was the only one Ellis won in his decade-plus as an NBA cult hero. Ellis told SLAM Magazine he holds another memory near and dear to his heart: A game-winning shot against the then-New Jersey Nets.

Ellis' wide-open 3-pointer sealed the Warriors' 111-109 win over Jason Kidd and the Nets on Jan. 24, 2007, giving him a signature moment and Golden State a much-needed victory in its push to the playoffs.

"The game was tight," Ellis said. "I forgot who shot that ball in the corner, I think it was Vince Carter, and we ended up getting the rebound. Baron got the rebound and we thought Don Nelson was going to call a timeout, but he didn’t. So Baron pushed the ball and I ran the wing and it was, like, a 3-on-2. But he was more to the left side and J-Kidd had to [make the stop], so he had to play between me and Baron.

"He decided to stop Baron and Baron kicked me the ball, and I ended up shooting it and hitting the game-winner. That was the year that I won Most Improved. I would have to say that one right there."

[RELATED: Monta shares great story on BD, his funniest Dubs teammate]

The Warriors finished 42-40 that season, while the ninth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers ended the campaign with a 40-42 record. An Ellis miss combined with another loss along the way, and the "We Believe" Warriors would've never been.

You can probably say the same of any of Golden State's other close calls that year, but none will carry as much meaning to Ellis as his game-winner.

Steph Curry says Riley called him a 'three-star' substitute teacher

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AP

Steph Curry says Riley called him a 'three-star' substitute teacher

Steph Curry was the NBA’s first unanimous MVP, but his daughter thinks he’s right around replacement level in the classroom.

The Warriors star told former teammate JaVale McGee in an Instagram Live on the NBA’s account Friday that he is serving as a de facto teacher’s assistant for his daughter Riley’s second-grade class. After her class -- held over Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down schools -- is over, the elder Curry said he gives Riley her assignments.

He hasn’t reached her usual standards.

“She told my mom today, she said I’m a three-star teacher,” Curry told McGee. “I said, ‘Dang. That’s cold. That’s so cold-blooded. I am invested into your future, young lady. This is how you repay me?’ It’s crazy.”

Curry probably hasn’t been doubted this much since high school, when he committed to Davidson College after receiving next to no other Division I scholarship offers. He has ridden a rocket ship ever since, leading his Wildcats on a Cinderella run in March Madness, getting selected No. 7 overall in the 2009 draft, winning three NBA championships and emerging as a global superstar in the meantime.

[RELATED: Tracing birth of Dubs' dynasty back to Game 1 of '15 Finals]

The 32-year-old's accolades haven’t translated to his daughter’s studies, apparently, so Curry will just have to win over another critic.

One in his own household might prove tougher to silence than any other along the way, though.