It's no secret that JaVale McGee and Shaquille O'Neal are not the best of friends. The Phoenix Suns big man has featured on the infamous Shaqtin' A Fool segment way too many times, and Shaq himself has been relentless in his criticism of McGee.
JaVale recently made an appearance on Shannon Sharpe's Club Shay Shay and the 33-year-old got brutally honest about how much O'Neal's antics affected his reputation throughout his career:
“The thing about that whole Shaqtin’ a Fool era of when I was on there is I didn’t realize what it was doing to my career until I got started to move on to other teams,” McGee said, via Abhishek Singh of Essentially Sports.
“And I would talk to other coaches and middle of the year they’d be like ‘I’ve always seen that Shaqtin’ a Fool stuff and had a different mental review and I never knew like you’re a smart kid. You’re extremely vocal, you’re a great basketball player.’
“It was slowly chipping away at my reputation. As a young 24-year-old athletic basketball player, young, excited, it was just slowly chipping away.”
We're all guilty of taking part in Shaq making McGee the butt of his jokes, and most of us probably never considered what type of effect this would have on a young man trying to make his way in a ruthless league.
It's great how JaVale McGee outgrew the Shaqtin' narrative to establish himself as a reliable big man in the NBA. He has three championships to show for that, which incidentally, is just one less than Shaq's four rings.