One of the biggest offseason stories for the Utah Jazz was the extension of All Star center Rudy Gobert. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and best defensive player on the planet who is in his prime was unsurprisingly a priority for the Utah front office. After outperforming his previous contract (despite many people thinking that was also an overpay...) the Jazz gave Rudy a raise to the tune of a 5 year $205 million dollar contract.
That’s a ridiculous amount of money. The highest paid center in the history of the NBA kind of money. Apparently an All Star getting his market value in an NBA with insane revenue doesn’t sit well with some people.
Shaquille O’Neal took to a recent podcast to try and tear down our Stifle Tower. My favorite part is how he starts with “I’m not gonna hate” and then proceeds to hate on Rudy big time:
“I’m not gonna hate, but this should be an inspiration to all the little kids out there. You can average 11 points in the NBA, you can get $200 million.”
But it didn’t end there. Petty Shaq went as far as to have someone photoshop him dunking on Gobert and went to Instagram to take the point even further.
Rudy Gobert isn’t the only center or player that Shaquille O’Neal has targeted with personal attacks like this. He’s done similar things to Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, and JaVale McGee just off the top of my head and I’m sure there are several more. It would seem that Shaq has a hard time with new centers in this league being successful. It would also seem Shaq is very jealous of the money guys can make in today’s league. For comparison sake, Shaq made about $286 million in salary over his entire 19 year career. Rudy will make $205 in 5 years on his new deal. Shaq has a problem with a 4 time All NBA defender getting big paychecks without having to make commercials for Gold Bond and cruise ships to do it.
Honestly, Rudy Gobert truly is an absolute inspiration for young kids. Rudy had very humble beginnings for a guy that would eventually make millions and be an All Star. Nothing was given to him on a silver spoon and he’s had to earn every minute and every dollar he’s made. He didn't have some of the advantages many young American players receive. Even his NBA careers started as the 27th pick and mostly in the G League. In fact, he’s one of only 3 players to ever play in the G League and make an All Star team. He absolutely is inspiring! It’s almost as if a true work ethic can get you further in life Shaq. Honestly, you could have learned a thing or two from Rudy and your career might’ve been even more successful.
Gobert’s also a winner, on and off the court. The Jazz franchise went through some rough rebuilding years and losing seasons, something we fans weren’t very familiar with. Well as soon as Rudy was entered into the starting lineup they’ve been a winning team ever since. He also does a LOT of community and charity work, much of which I imagine doesn’t even get published or talked about.
He’s also willing to be the bigger man:
There is no beef. If people wanna keep speaking negatively about me or keep discrediting what i do it’s on them and all that does is show who they are. I will always be happy for a brother beating the odds. And i’m gonna keep beating the odds. https://t.co/l241ZQ2Qk4— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) January 4, 2021
Thank you Rudy. Coming off a year where there was too much hate and negativity, you are showing people how to be a better person. On the court, you may play with a mean streak, reject people and send their shots into the stands, but off the court you are a stand up human being. You care about the game of basketball but you also care about being good to others. Additionally, you write sincere and heartfelt things like this:
We may not all agree on how much Utah decided to pay Rudy. We may not even agree on Rudy’s true value and on-court impact. But one thing we as Jazz fans can all agree on is that he’s OUR center. He’s OUR DPOY. He’s OUR All Star. He’s OUR winner. He’s OUR Rudy. And I am so excited to get another 5 years of cheering him on as a player and as a person.