Shaquille O'Neal vs Dwight Howard beef takes another sharp turn

It appears that Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard are once again at odds in their ongoing feud. On the "OGs Show," Howard took some shots at Shaq but added that he wants their beef to come to an end.
Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors
Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages

During his guest appearance on Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller’s podcast, "The OGs," Dwight Howard revealed previously undisclosed details about his rivalry with Shaquille O'Neal.

History Of Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal's Feud 

The Big Aristotle and D-12 have been at each other’s throats many times. Howard and O'Neal have been in conflict for years, primarily due to the latter frequently criticizing the former. Recently, O'Neal stated that Howard never sought his guidance, which was brought up when Dwight appeared on Haslem’s and Miller’s podcast. It appears that O'Neal and Howard are once again at odds in their longtime battle. 

The careers of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard share an uncanny resemblance, particularly in their early stages. They were both drafted by the same team, traded to the same team, and encountered similar coaches, conflicts, and challenges along the way. However, the primary similarity that drove a wedge between them seemed rather trivial: Dwight ascended to superstardom just as Shaq's career began to decline. 

The rivalry between O’Neal and Howard originated during the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. This was the earliest moment of global recognition as a rising star in the league for Dwight. Howard represented the Magic during the contest, donning a Superman shirt and cape while showcasing his skills. 

Shaq, who had already adopted the moniker of "Superman" perceived this as an act of stealing his identity, and since then, the situation has only become more absurd.  This incident sparked a war of words that reignited every time the two players faced each other. 

If this seems foolish, the beef between them only intensified after O’Neal retired from the league. Shaq swiftly transitioned into a role as a TNT personality and has since dedicated a significant amount of time to criticizing Dwight for his shortcomings, both in maintaining his superstar status and meeting O’Neal's criteria for what constitutes a great NBA center. This ongoing feud has involved impersonations, rap battles, and some incredibly silly tweets and Instagram posts.

The two esteemed NBA icons have publicly challenged each other multiple times, with the most recent being Howard's accusation of Shaq being dishonest on Twitter. Shaq had asserted that Dwight never sought his guidance, yet the latter presented a contrasting narrative regarding their association with the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player. 

Howard sets the record straight

Howard has often said that he has no issues with O'Neal, and repeated the sentiment on the recent podcast episode that he has tried to squash the beef multiple times with Shaq. Howard center has revealed his side of the story.

The conversation began when Miller said to Howard, “Shaq said that you never reached out to him for advice.“

“That’s a lie,” Howard said.

Miller said he would not call O'Neal a liar. However, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year replied that he would. Howard confirmed that Shaq has lied about having contact with him.  

“There hasn't been a time where Shaq has just reached out like that. I've reached out to Shaq myself on multiple occasions because I'm like what's the issue? Like, I understand the competitive side, but we don't even compete against each other, and it's like two different stratospheres.”

Howard continued,“I have reached out to him. It’s time for Shaq to get back on this now. I have reached out to him, and I would like for us to have some type of relationship. Life is too short and for us to be who we are, there’s no way we shouldn’t be able to work together in any capacity.”

Although Howard expressed his affection for O'Neal, his accusation of him being dishonest will surely not be well received. Similarly, Howard's comical remark about Shaq being a counterfeit Superman while discussing the retirement of his jersey by the Orlando Magic will also not be taken lightly.

"​​They finally retired the first jersey... The fake Superman.""

Dwight Howard

Howard expressed his belief that the Magic should have retired his jersey before O'Neal's, which clearly upset him. It's unclear whether Shaq was aware of Howard's comments, but he added fuel to the fire by suggesting that Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady should have their jerseys retired before Howard. 

While this statement was absurd, it wasn't entirely surprising coming from him. During a recent episode of the show, Haslem and Howard reconcile their differences. UD acknowledged Howard's age, stating that he no longer holds a grudge against him, and congratulating him on his successful career. Howard was thrilled to hear this and expressed his desire to resolve the ongoing feud between himself and O'Neal as well.

"In the NBA, we're supposed to be brothers shouldn’t be nothing more than a sibling rivalry," Howard said. "Much love UD. Shaq let’s end this. It’s been 50 years."

Howard has expressed a desire to resolve their issues in the past, but no progress has been made. O'Neal has justified his behavior towards Dwight as tough love, but it seems more like disrespect from Howard's perspective.

Shaq even went as far as to say that Howard is not a Hall of Famer, which is simply ridiculous. In 2022, O’Neal promised not to hurt Howard's feelings again after Thanksgiving dinner with his mother. It was uncertain if this marked the end of their feud, but unfortunately, it was not. Howard reached out on social media to attempt to put an end to things, but O'Neal rebuffed him:

Over the years, Shaq has consistently emphasized that Howard had never achieved a championship ring despite leading the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. However, this complaint is now invalid as Howard played a crucial role as a bench player for the team that emerged victorious in the 2020 NBA Finals. While the Lakers were celebrating their championship in the locker room, Howard took to Instagram and delivered an emotional message in the immediate aftermath.

During an episode of The Big Podcast With Shaq, O'Neal strongly criticized Howard, labeling him a "front-runner" and a "bandwagon jumper," and insinuated that he had no significant contribution to the Lakers' title. 

Hopefully, these two esteemed Orlando Magic legends can reconcile their differences and find common ground someday.