During an appearance on "The Rex Chapman Show" earlier this month, O'Neal admitted to being jealous of the lucrative contracts in today's NBA.
"I'm jealous, but I'm happy," O'Neal said around the 25:50 mark. "I'm jealous because I always thought that you had to have Michael-Jordan, superb-type numbers to get that type of money. That's what it was in my era, but I'm happy for the kids. Reason why I bring up Rudy Gobert, people think I'm hating, it's not. He's a good big man; I'm used to dealing with great big men, right?"
O'Neal went on to encourage younger players to model their games after Gobert.
"Rudy Gobert is not the average-type, big-guy NBA player no more. 'Cause the average big they're looking for now is a guy that can pick-and-pop and do whatever," O'Neal said. "Rudy Gobert's big, tall, plays hard, plays great defense, Defensive Player of the Year, and he's making $200 million. So, all you big guys out there, look at him. Follow him.
"You know, you're not gonna be LeBron. You're not gonna be Kobe. You're not gonna be Shaq. You're not gonna be Garnett. But I think there's a lot of big guys even today that can do what he can do. So when I tell the story, people think, 'Oh, you're just jealous.' Yeah, I am jealous he's making $250 (million). One, I'll say I'm jealous. However, for this game of ours, it can motivate a young kid today to keep the NBA going."
Gobert has denied having any beef with O'Neal, tweeting in January, "I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds."