As one could point out at first glance, there are major parallels in Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal’s careers. They both began their successful careers with the Orlando Magic, led the franchise to an NBA Finals appearance, and then moved to the Los Angeles Lakers later in their careers. But where their similarities end, their beef begins.
Nonetheless, Dwight Howard, in an appearance in All The Smoke podcast, clarified that he had actually looked up to Shaq growing up, which perplexed him even more as to why Shaquille O’Neal ragged on him the way he’s done over the years.
“I don’t know why he was like that. I never had no issues with Shaq. I never wanted to be like Shaq. I enjoy watching him do what he do. I think he’s the most dominant player to ever play. There’s no player as dominant as Shaq,” Howard said.
“I remember in the eleventh grade watching him play against Dikembe Mutombo in the Finals, catching it [in the post] everytime, elbow to the chest, turn around dunk on him, I was like, ‘Yo, this is crazy!’ So I’m like why is he hating on me? If anything, he should be happy that somebody is trying to follow in their footsteps.”
Dwight Howard on Shaq: "I never had no issues with Shaq. I never wanted to be like Shaq. I enjoy watching him do what he do. I think he's the most dominant player to ever play." #AllTheSmoke | @shobasketball pic.twitter.com/BkPl75Ija6
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 12, 2022
A significant portion of the beef between the two has always been Dwight Howard’s use of the Superman moniker, which especially irked Shaq, what with him being the biggest Superman fan in the world. He even has a tattoo of the Superman logo on his left arm.
The timing of Howard’s Superman persona phase coincided with O’Neal’s rapid decline in the late 2000s, which, perhaps, stoked even more feelings of resentment from the four-time NBA champion. Years later, there seems to be no resolution in sight for either of them.
Whatever the exact reason is for the beef, perhaps we’ll never know. That is unless Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal agree to sit down together and bury the hatchet, similar to when Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas talked things through in a Players Only segment.
Alas, it takes two to tango, and it’s unclear whether this saga ever reaches a point where both parties are willing to reach out to the other and let bygones be bygones.