Rudy Gobert and Shaquille O’Neal engaged in a war of words in debate over who would win one-on-one

Rudy Gobert isn’t scared of Big Diesel. And vice versa.

The Jazz center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year didn’t take criticism from Shaquille O’Neal on O’Neal’s podcast “The Big Podcast with Shaq” lightly. O’Neal went in on Gobert and the Jazz, saying: “What’s going on is what I told you all three years ago. Donovan ain’t that good and the Utah Jazz ain’t that good. Let’s just say it.”

O’Neal went on, repeating a common criticism of Gobert: His lack of offense.

“Rudy’s a great player, a fine defensive player but he offers nothing on the offensive end. Like he has no post moves,” he said.

When Spice Adams said Gobert could hold Shaq to 12 point, O’Neal brushed it off, saying “Yeah, in the first three minutes.”

“It’s against my religion for someone to hold me one-on-one,” he continued. “You know what I would do to him? He’s a shot-blocker, you can’t shoot a shot. You gotta back his little skinny a– up under the rim, and then show him the ‘bow so he get scared … And then just go ‘bah-bah’ and dunk it right in his face.”

Gobert replied to a post on the topic on Instagram, saying “I would lock his a– up.”

That’s a massively bold statement from Gobert. O’Neal averaged 23.2 points per game on 58.2 percent shooting in his career, and that was with his withering years. O’Neal in his prime was dominant in a way no player in NBA history has ever been, and Gobert is saying he would lock that down — even if he is saying it half tongue-in-cheek.

Naturally, the NBA on TNT crew, with Shaquille O’Neal serving as a member of the panel, got the last word. 

“I’d back his little skinny ass down,” Shaq said after Charles Barkley picked Gobert to win in a one-on-one setting.

“He’s going to hurt kids in the stands blocking your shot,” Barkley added, laughing.

Gobert’s NBA influence is massively polarizing, and he himself seems to lean into it. He rightfully takes tremendous pride in his defense, and he has a healthy respect for other players around the league.