Warriors' Kevin Durant fires back at Shaq: 'If I have something to say, I’m going to say it'

The beef between Shaquille O’Neal and the Warriors had seemingly been laid to rest, but it’s been given new life, thanks to a recent appearance by Kevin Durant on The Bill Simmons Podcast.

A quick catchup in case you’re not familiar: A little over a month ago, the Warriors reportedly contacted TNT about the way that Shaq was speaking about JaVale McGee. Shaq doubled down on his McGee criticism, which caused a bunch of the Warriors, including Durant, to come to his defense. Shaq eventually squashed the beef with McGee (because his mom told him to), but took a parting shot, saying Durant has no right to criticize him until he wins a title.

Durant fired back in his podcast with Simmons:

“He said I can’t talk to him because I haven’t won a championship,” Durant told Simmons. “I can see right through that. Shaq feels validated in life, not just basketball, because he’s won a championship. … To say I can’t say anything to him about my teammate who you tried to bully for no reason? I can’t come to his defense because I haven’t won championships? [That] shows me your whole life is centered around [the fact that] you feel like you’re someone in this world because you won a championship. For me, it ain’t even about that.

“If I have something to say, I’m going to say it. I feel like if you’re going to come at my teammate, I’m going to protect him. That’s what leaders are supposed to do. … Man, you’ve got flaws, too, and you’re just trying to pick on JaVale. Obviously, JaVale would never be Shaq. He’s trying out here like everybody else. I just try to have his back.”

It’s hard not to side with K.D. here.

OK, we get it -- there’s this elite club with superstars who have won titles that guys like Durant can’t get into. That’s great, but that doesn’t preclude a player from defending his teammates. It wasn’t like Durant was saying he was better than Shaq, he was just asking him to lay off of McGee.

The point is, as long as basketball exists there will be retired players insulting the younger generation -- it’s just the way things work. The fact that guys like Shaq and Charles Barkley are on a national stage gives their comments more publicity, but they’re definitely not alone in their opinions.

You have to applaud Durant for going to bat for his teammate, but hopefully this is the last we hear of it and he can concentrate on making a healthy return to the Warriors for the playoff run.

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