Shaquille O'Neal promised that his days of taking shots at "Shaqtin' a Fool" regular JaVale McGee are over. But as far as Golden State Warriors teammate Kevin Durant - who publicly defended McGee by going after the Basketball Hall of Famer - goes, well ... he's still fair game in O'Neal's eyes.
Sticking up for McGee, Durant went after the TNT analyst by calling him "childish," saying he had "no skill" during his days on the hardwood, and that he was a "shitty free-throw shooter." This stemmed from a Twitter feud between McGee and O'Neal fueled by The Big Aristotle constantly poking fun at McGee for his numerous appearances on his ever-popular blooper reel.
O'Neal tweeted Durant after the original remarks were made, appreciating the fact that he had his teammate's back, but still asking him to butt out. Perhaps O'Neal would have been more receptive to the four-time scoring champion if he had a championship ring or two on his fingers.
"KD doesn't have G-14 classification," O'Neal told The Crossover's Ben Golliver hours before filming Thursday's edition of Inside the NBA. "He can’t talk to me like that. He may think he does, and he's sticking up for his teammate. He's a great player, but you ain't in the club yet. You're on the outside in line with (Charles) Barkley, (Karl) Malone, and (John) Stockton. You're not in the club with me and those (championship) guys. That's why I tweeted him, 'Mind ya business.'"
This isn't the first time a player has gone after someone on the TNT panel this season. LeBron James called Charles Barkley a "hater" after Barkley labeled him as being "whiny" for wanting the Cleveland Cavaliers to improve their roster.
O'Neal is willing to give a guy like James more leeway since he's proven himself numerous times in the NBA Finals. Durant, on the other hand, has yet to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy, and won't be afforded that same courtesy.
"LeBron has a lot of clearance because he’s won championships," O’Neal added. "But when a guy who hasn't won championships makes comments, you say, ‘How do you know?’ … (Durant) was just trying to stick up for his teammate. If you read into what he said, none of his sh-- made sense. Well, actually some of it made sense. He said I was strong and I bullied people. Of course, that's exactly what I did. I'm not going to go shoot jumpers and do all of that.
"Just put it this way: The league is soft and these guys are sensitive, period. I was sensitive (as a player) too but I never went back at (older players). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain never said sh-- to (support) me. Did I cry about It? No. Kareem said in the paper one time, when they asked him, 'Shaq is doing great, he has numbers similar to yours, what do you think?' His response was, 'Well, he hasn't won a championship yet.' I could have gone back at him, but I didn't. I sucked it up like a real man and was like, 'OK, watch this.' A lot of guys, these days, when you say anything about them they start whimpering and crying."