Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq humorously explains why he calls himself ‘Black Steph Curry'

NBC Universal, Inc.

Shaquille O'Neal was unstoppable at everything that wasn’t Steph Curry-like during his 19-year NBA career.

Still, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame center jokingly calls himself the “Black Steph Curry.”

In talking to Curry’s Warriors teammate Draymond Green on “The Draymond Green Show,” O’Neal explained the reasoning behind the monicker.

“I’m jealous of them,” O'Neal told Green about floor-spacing bigs like Victor Wembanyama, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokić. “[I] wish I could step out and shoot the three, brother. You know why I call myself the 'Black Steph Curry?' Because if I go to the gym and miss 190 f--kin 3s, but make one, I’m the 'Black Steph Curry.' That s--t f--kin feel good, to step out and shoot that 3, bro.”

O’neal was a 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Champion, but he never had the shooting ability nor opportunities to stretch the floor like the big men he listed.

Did he ever need them? No. 

O’neal averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game throughout his career.

Playing like Curry -- or the modern NBA big -- never was in the cards for O’Neal. He wishes things would have gone differently, though.

“When I’m jealous, I’m not envious,” O’Neal added to Green. “I’m jealous to motivate me. Every now and then, I go out there and try to Klay Thompson my s--t. I just go out there and try to shoot. I’m jealous of them because I wish I was allowed to do that. 

“Back then, every now and then I would take it coast to coast and the coach would look at me crazy. [Wembanyama, Embiid and Jokić are] allowed to do it.”

O’Neal only sank one of 22 career 3-point attempts (0.45 percent). He also had 3,310 career turnovers to 3,026 assists.

Of course, O’Neal likely feels frustrated watching the game he once commanded evolve before his eyes. But he should be proud of what he accomplished given his skill set while admiring what the new guys are capable of. 

After all, the best big men continuously incorporate O’Neal’s game into theirs season after season. And the last four NBA MVP awards have gone to centers (Jokić - 3, Embiid - 1).

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Contact Us