Shaquille O'Neal had high praise for Deandre Ayton when he told the rookie to go break all of his records, and the Phoenix Suns big man admits the comments gave him goosebumps.
When asked about Shaq’s comments earlier about wanting him to be himself and break all of his records, Ayton said he got goosebumps and it adds more fuel to the fire.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) September 26, 2018
On the latest episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, the Hall of Famer said he doesn't want Ayton to be the next Shaq, he wants him to be the first Ayton.
“I keep hearing that this Ayton guy can be the next Shaq. My advice to Ayton is don’t be the next Shaq, be the first Ayton. I wish you well. I hope you break all my records.”
Ayton has talked a lot about wanting to be like Shaq. If the youngster is able to get anywhere close to what Shaq was able to do, that would be quite the impressive career and the Suns would be thrilled.
In his career, Shaq finished with 15 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA honors, four NBA championships, and an MVP award. He played in 1,207 games, finishing with averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He also shot 58.2 percent from the field.
In one year with the Arizona Wildcats, Ayton played in 35 games and recorded 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per contest. He shot 61.2 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from deep.
Those stats sure look similar to Shaq's, but it is a big jump from college ball to the NBA. After a few NBA seasons, there will be a much clearer picture of what Ayton's career will look like.