Shaq: I understand where Russell Westbrook is coming from

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The Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant matchup is all anyone is talking about as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors get set to square off on Thursday night.

There’s a heavy mood in the air, with the spurned Westbrook looking to take it to the decamped Durant. Meanwhile, the Warriors are trying to beat the team with the best record in the Western Conference and a player in Westbrook who is averaging a triple-double.

Shaquille O’Neal knows uniquely how this matchup might feel between players, as the Hall of Fame center spoke on TNT:

If you can’t watch the video, O’Neal remarked on how a similar situation “Happened to me three times” and that “You want to let them know that ‘I’m the man … doesn’t matter how you feel, I’m coming at your rack tonight.'”

Shaq famously left the Magic and Lakers in dramatic fashion during the prime of his career. He had icy relationships with former teammates Penny Hardaway and Kobe Bryant, who he did not notify before switching teams.

Here’s a list of former teammates Shaq probably also didn’t call before leaving:

  • Geert Hammink
  • Travis Knight
  • Chris Quinn
  • Robert Hite
  • Wayne Simien
  • Luke Harangody

There’s probably more, but you get the picture. Can’t fault O’Neal though, and he’s absolutely right about trying to have the edge the next meeting out.

If Shaq’s insight is any indication, we could be in for a treat when we see the first interaction between Durant and Westbrook in months.