What did Shaquille O’Neal say to Jaylen Brown?

Much has been made about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in recent weeks, with both stars seamlessly alternating between the roles of Batman and Robin in the Celtics’ quest for the NBA Finals.

Recently, Brown has been the higher-volume scorer, averaging 27.0 points compared to Tatum’s 25.8 over the past two rounds. This surge has captivated many on NBA Twitter, prompting some to declare Brown the best player in Boston green. Recency bias is a powerful elixir, and Brown’s exploits have sparked fervent debates among fans.


Shaquille O’Neal’s Advice to Jaylen Brown

Following the Celtics’ Game 2 win over the Mavericks, Brown found himself sharing the spotlight with a familiar face: former Boston “great” and Inside the NBA co-host, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, who knows a thing or two about sharing the spotlight with superstars, having done so with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and Dwyane Wade in Miami, offered Brown some guidance.

O’Neal’s advice came wrapped in his trademark mystique. “Jaylen, I don’t have a question. But I’m going to give you some G-14 classification information, because this will be the last time you see me. It’s a riddle; do not get fixated on useless titles. Do what you gotta do. Doesn’t matter who’s who, or they say who’s what. It ain’t time for all that right now. Do what you gotta do and get it done,” O’Neal counseled.

The messaging didn’t immediately resonate with Brown, prompting co-host Matt Winer to offer Brown a chance to seek clarification. Shaq elaborated, drawing from his experience with Bryant, and emphasized the importance of ignoring the noise and focusing on winning.

“They’re trying to separate you and your guy [Jayson Tatum] by saying who’s better,” O’Neal added. “Don’t worry about useless titles, it don’t matter who the man is. Kobe’s the man, Shaq’s the man, it don’t matter. I’m getting my 40, Kobe’s getting his 39, let’s go win a championship.”

O’Neal’s comments didn’t arise in isolation. Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd had recently declared Brown as Boston’s best player before Game 2, a statement that bemused some and irritated others within the Boston camp. However, Kidd’s endorsement did little to derail the Celtics.

Fueled by Brown, Tatum, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White, Boston clinched a 105-98 victory, moving closer to NBA immortality. Brown delivered with 21 points, seven assists, and four rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting, while Tatum narrowly missed a triple-double.

As the Celtics march towards the championship, the debate over who is the better player—Brown or Tatum—continues to rage. Yet, Shaq’s wisdom underscores a crucial truth: the titles and labels are irrelevant. What matters is the collective effort to secure victory. Brown and Tatum’s ability to dovetail seamlessly is what makes the Celtics a formidable force. In the end, their synergy could lead Boston to NBA glory, regardless of who dons the Batman cape or the Robin mask.


Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant playoff stats

Shaquille O’Neal  Per Game Kobe Bryant
119 Games played 119
27.7 Points 22.6
13.4 Rebounds 4.8
3.0 Assists 4.4
0.5 Steals 1.4
2.5 Blocks 0.7
2.9 Turnovers 2.7
41.0 Minutes 38.3
55.6 Field goal % 43.4
0.0 3-point % 32.3
52.1 Free throw % 79.2

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum playoff stats

Jaylen Brown Per Game Jayson Tatum
24.6 Points 24.9
6.0 Rebounds 10.3
2.9 Assists 6.3
1.3 Steals 1.0
0.7 Blocks 0.7
2.8 Turnovers 2.7
37.1 Minutes 40.9
54.3 Field goal % 42.6
35.6 3-point % 28.9
63.6 Free throw % 83.9


Did Shaquille O’Neal play for the Celtics?


Yes, Shaquille O’Neal did indeed play for the Celtics, spending his final season in the league in Beantown. As a 38-year-old in his 18th NBA season, O’Neal managed to be fairly effective despite the limitations of age and injuries. He played 37 games for the franchise, averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in just 20.3 minutes per game.

O’Neal’s veteran presence and experience provided a boost to the Celtics, even though his time on the court was limited. His contributions went beyond the stat sheet, as he brought a wealth of knowledge and championship experience to a team with aspirations of adding another title to its storied history.