Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal said he wasn’t mocking Lakers star Anthony Davis for leaving Game 5 injured, but O’Neal added he “sucked it up” and played through injuries in important games in his career. Here’s what you need to know:
- O’Neal and co-analyst Charles Barkley have faced criticism for laughing on the TNT postgame show while discussing Davis leaving the Lakers’ Game 5 loss to Golden State with a head injury.
- Davis took an elbow to the face from Warriors center Kevon Looney during the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. Team sources told The Athletic he was dizzy leaving the floor.
- Regarding the laughter, O’Neal said, “It doesn’t matter what we were laughing about. I’m laughing at (Barkley), he’s laughing at me. I’m not going to get into it.”
What O’Neal said
On whether or not he was mocking Davis’ injury, O’Neal said, “I ain’t making fun of nobody, that’s not what I do. But I do know you’re not going to stop me from playing in that Game 6.”
O’Neal, 51, added that he wouldn’t let an injury keep him from a closeout game, which the Lakers were in Wednesday night and will be in again Friday hosting the Warriors.
“You see why I walk funny?” O’Neal said. “Because I sucked it up. You see why my toes don’t bend? Because I sucked it up.”
O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion and former MVP, retired in 2011 after a 19-year career with six teams, including the Lakers.
O’Neal’s comments came Thursday at the launch of his “Comebaq Court” at the Shaquille O’Neal Boys and Girls Club of Henry County, which is south of Atlanta.
Davis avoided concussion protocol and is likely to play in Game 6, Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Thursday.
(Photo: Catalina Fragoso / NBAE via Getty Images)
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