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Monday, April 15, 2024

“Nikola O’Neal”: Shaquille O’Neal Displays Nuggets Star’s ‘Dominance’ Against Pelicans Big

On his Instagram, Shaquille O’Neal posted a story of Nikola Jokic dominating New Orleans Pelicans Center Jonas Valanciunas in the low post. The video in the story is titled “Nikola O’Neal”, alluding to Shaq’s unstoppable low-post game that engulfed hundreds of defenders. In his usual style, O’Neal posted the video without adding his text. Meanwhile, officialsportfiesta, which rolled out the video, captioned it, “Who do you choose, Shaq or Joker?


In the video, Pelicans’ big man Jonas Valanciunas tried guarding Jokic around the mid-range area. However, using his bulky frame and lower-base power, the Joker displaced Valanciunas by bumping into his chest repeatedly. The Nuggets Center gets close to the basket using the power of his shoulders and lower base.

Unable to fend off the attack, the Pelicans Center went flying out of bounds as Jokic dunked with ease. This is the classic example of what Shaq labels as a “bully ball“. 6’11” and 250+ lbs heavy Valanciunas could not soak the contact in the post.

The way the 2023 Finals MVP dealt with the Pelicans Center was reminiscent of a typical Shaq move. On the other hand, the low-post maneuver by the Joker had the fans divided on Instagram. One of the users opined that Jokic committed an offensive foul. A user wrote, “I think Jokic totally shouldered him twice…

Another commenter opined, “That was an offensive foul.…” However, for others, Valanciunas flopped to sell an offensive foul call. A user penned, “Y Jonas flopping though”. Agreeing with this notion, another comment chimed in, “The flopping nowadays is mad” followed by a laughing emoji.

Meanwhile, in a hilarious turn, considering Travis Kelce-Jonas Valanciunas’s doppelganger comparison and Kelce’s romance with Taylor Swift, a commenter had a witty reply, “Taylor Swift boyfriend became soft” followed by a crying emoji.

Shaquille O’Neal acknowledged Joker as the best Center in the league

Before the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat, Diesel crowned the Joker as the “best Center”. This was despite 76ers Center Joel Embiid winning the MVP award after being the scoring leader for the 2022-23 season. However, Embiid couldn’t lift his 76ers past the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, the eventual Finals MVP Jokic had led a dominant Nuggets run to the NBA Final, including a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. On his ‘The Big Podcast’, Shaq lauded Jokic for not just relying on jumpers and building a well-crafted post-game to lead the “new wave of Centers“.

Joker is the best center. … He’s changed the game of basketball, but he is playing like, I think a new wave center should play. Five years ago all the centers were just shooting jumpers. … Joker is the best big man and he’d proven that,” Shaquille O’Neal pointed out.

While Jokic has already entered the elite big men’s club, it will be interesting to see how his resume stacks up against Shaq when it is all said and done. To do that, he needs two more Finals MVPs, meaning his Nuggets need to nab at least two more titles. At any rate, he has left an indelible mark on the league as one of the most efficient players ever.



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