Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal have ended their longstanding beef, with both NBA icons mending their differences after witnessing LeBron James break Kareem’s All-Time NBA regular season scoring record. On Tuesday evening (Feb. 7), Abdul-Jabbar joined NBA on TNT, during which the 75-year-old apologized for his seeming indifference toward Shaq over the years.
“Hey, and I wanna tell Shaq I asked for you specifically this evening, because you felt like I was shaming you, or ignoring you,” Abdul-Jabbar, who won five titles with the Lakers, said during the live telecast. “That would never be the case — and you showed them what you were all about the way you crushed all those centers in the league for a couple of years there. So, I’m on your side Shaq. Don’t ever let anybody tell you anything different.” O’Neal, who was in-studio with his fellow NBA on TNT analysts, responded by noting the motivation the former Lakers great’s lack of acknowledgment gave him during his own time in the league.
“Listen, you not speaking to me was the best thing to happen to my career,” the 50-year-old told the six-time NBA champion. “Because all I wanted to do was impress you. So I will talk to you soon, and I love you very much. I will never ever have beef with the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You ain’t got to worry about that.” Kareem echoed The Big Diesel’s sentiments, adding “That’s back at you. I love you too and I want you guys to keep impressing the whole world with our game. It’s a wonderful game.”
The moment marked the end of nearly three decades of the dominant big men not being on one accord. In 1993, when Shaq appeared in a Reebok commercial alongside the likes of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar, the UCLA graduate shunned a young O’Neal and left the set without speaking to him. When Shaq joined the Lakers in 1996, Abdul-Jabbar did not personally reach out to him and the two were never able to foster a relationship with one another, which the four-time NBA champ has addressed on past occasions.
- Advertisement -
Abdul-Jabbar attended Tuesday night’s Los Angeles Lakers versus Oklahoma City Thunder game at the Crpyto.com Arena in anticipation of James surpassing his all-time regular scoring record, which he’s held since retiring with 38,387 points in 1989. James, who was 36 points shy of breaking the record prior to the matchup, surpassed Kareem on a fadeaway jumper with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter. LeBron would finish the game with 38 points, with the new all-time scoring record at 38,390 points and counting. However, the Lakers lost the game 133-130, bringing their record to 25-30 for the season.