“Go Out There and Compete”: Shaquille O’Neal Echoes Kobe Bryant’s Words While Reminding All-Stars Their ‘Responsibility’ Towards Fans

Advait Jajodia

The All-Star Weekend is supposed to be three days of non-stop entertainment for basketball enthusiasts. However, this year, fans were subjected to one of the most dull events of all time. Apart from the Slam Dunk Contest being a letdown, Sunday’s All-Star Game was equally boring. Despite the 200-point milestone being crossed by a single team for the first time ever, the exhibition game was just not enjoyable. Shaquille O’Neal is one of the many to be disappointed by the showcase in Indiana. By sharing a clip of Kobe Bryant’s take on the All-Star Game, Shaq expressed his opinion on how competitive the game should actually be.

Kobe Bryant was known for his competitiveness. Even in the All-Star Game, with not much to win, Bryant would put in all his efforts and make sure that the spectators had a great time. Apart from being excellent on the offense, the Los Angeles Lakers legend was one of the very few superstars who actually played defense. His total of 38 steals (highest on the list) across 18 All-Star Games is proof for the same.

Kobe performed at the highest level, even when others considered it to be a break from the regular season. On numerous occasions across his career, the 6ft 6” shooting guard urged his fellow All-Stars to fulfil their responsibility to their fans and compete. Bryant reiterated himself during the 2009, 2011, and 2016 All-Star Games.

2009: “I think that’s what the fans really want to see. Want to see us get after it a little bit.”

2011: “I feel like we all have a sense of responsibility and we’re voted in for what we do during the season. Which is play hard.”

2016: “I want them to come out and compete. You wanna do something for me? Let’s go out there and compete and have a good competitive game. And then let’s win the game.”

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After witnessing an underwhelming performance in the 2024 All-Star Game, Shaq reshared this clip on his Instagram Stories. By doing so, O’Neal can only hope that the players can make the exhibition game much more competitive and entertaining from the next time onwards.

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Unlike Bryant, as seen in the clips above, the players didn’t even break a sweat this year. Apart from uncontested three-point shots, players even took unnecessary full-court heaves. Clearly, ticket prices of the contest being so high was not justified and no spectator got their money’s worth.

Joining Shaquille O’Neal are numerous livid fans

Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t the only personality from the basketball world to be gutted by the All-Star Game. Stephen A. Smith also expressed his concerns regarding the All-Star Weekend, calling the highly-anticipated event a “travesty”.

The ESPN analyst was so frustrated at the production that he urged Commissioner Adam Silver to eliminate the Skills Challenge, Slam Dunk Competition, and the All-Star Game going forward.

“What transpired last night was an absolute travesty. Nearly 400 points on defence, no effort whatsoever,” Smith said.

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JJ Redick also took to his podcast and revealed his disappointment in the event. After lauding Kevin Durant for his efforts, Redick called out all participants for their performance.

“This is not playing defence! This was 23 guys, I’d say 23 and a half guys just not trying. And we have seen it year after year after year. At no point, did anyone outside of Kevin Durant try on defense,” Redick said.

While all analysts and enthusiasts have been urging the league to make the All-Star Game much more entertaining, Anthony Edwards just explained why the contest could never be fixed. Edwards, who previously stated that he would only shoot from his left hand, expressed his honest opinions about the exhibition game. According to the Minnesota Timberwolves guard, the All-Star Game was merely for fun and he wouldn’t ever try being competitive.

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Unless the players don’t take the first step and try making the contest more fun, there isn’t a lot that Adam Silver can do. All that the fans can do is hope that the league comes up with an idea to make the weekend more fun by bringing in some modifications.

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About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,200+ articles.

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