Who’s the best player in the world?
It seems like we have this conversation almost monthly, and it has sprung back up after Shaquille O’Neal gave his opinion on who he thinks is at the top of the heap.
Speaking on his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” alongside co-hosts Nischelle Turner, Spice Adams and “Inside the NBA” colleague Kenny Smith, the Hall of Fame center said he thinks that Warriors Finals MVP Steph Curry was “by far” the best player in the entire world.
“The real ones are recognized by the championships that you have,” O’Neal said.
“Nobody plays better than Steph Curry. He’s a tough shot taker, tough shot maker. I like where he’s brought his career. I love ‘Rocky’-type stories. . . . Steph wasn’t highly recruited. So, to be able to work that hard and be the best shooter and one of the best players in the league, he gets my props for that. I love that kid.”
‘Nobody plays better than Steph Curry. He’s a tough shot-taker, tough shot-maker. I like where he’s brought his career.”— UG(SCDG) (@SCDG2330) August 19, 2022
SHAQ always the No.1 Steph fan 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/pVi5ZZC1Cp
For years, it seemed as if LeBron James was the clear consensus best player in the world, and as great as he still is at 37, it’s surprising that he is not mentioned as the best in the world.
Whether or not you agree with O’Neal, it’s interesting to hear the thought process behind his choice.
While some would go with a player like the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also has a championship and a Finals MVP on his resume, or two-time MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets, who can seemingly do it all on the court, it’s clear that O’Neal has prioritized winning as a criterion. After clinching his fourth NBA title and first Finals MVP, Curry has leapfrogged to the top of O’Neal’s list.
I guess we also know now who Shaq thinks is winning the league again next year.