The first two weeks of the 2019 NBA free agency concluded with the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. Leonard didn’t only join the Clippers, but he also brought another superstar, Paul George, that could help him give the Lakers’ co-tenant their first NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. The acquisition of Leonard and George this summer has undeniably turned the Clippers from a mediocre team to a legitimate title contender in the deep Western Conference.
However, there are people who aren’t convinced that they are currently the better team in Los Angeles. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal picked the Purple and Gold over the Clippers to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Los Angeles in the 2019-20 NBA season.
“Listen, I got to go with the Lakers,” O’Neal said, as quoted by Lakers Nation.
“However, L.A. has always been a very exciting city, but the next year of basketball is going to be very exciting. But I’m Lakers, purple and gold ’till I die. Even when the Lakers have a bad team like they did last year, I’m still with the Lakers.”
It’s definitely not a surprise why Shaquille O’Neal still sees the Lakers as the better team in Los Angeles, and not the Clippers. The Lakers may have failed to add a third superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency, but they still succeeded to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with a quality supporting cast this summer. After Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers, the Lakers used their salary cap space to sign DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels, and Quin Cook. The Lakers also decided to bring back some of their own free agents like JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Alex Caruso.
Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal says he "probably quadrupled" his worth once he started investing like Amazon's Jeff Bezos. https://t.co/Vdt7x98Rad
— CNBC Make It (@CNBCMakeIt) July 13, 2019
However, no matter how good the Lakers and Clippers are right now, Shaquille O’Neal told Jimmy Kimmel that if he’s still playing in the NBA, he has no interest in being part of their roster. O’Neal said that he would rather join a team who’s in dire need of a superstar and help them beat all the superteams in the league.
“I’m from the era where guys wanted to compete and beat each other,” O’Neal said, as transcribed by Yahoo Sports. “So I would wait to see who’s teaming up and doing that and I would go on a team that needs a superstar and I would teach those guys how to beat the superteams.”
Shaquille O’Neal’s statement amazed the audience. However, it’s worth noting that during his NBA career, O’Neal won NBA championship titles alongside very talented players like Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and Dwyane Wade in Miami.