The careers of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard have an eerie amount of similarity, especially in their early parts. They were drafted by the same team, traded to the same team, and saw some of the same coaches, feuds, and challenges along the way. But the big similarity that drove a wedge between them seemed pretty frivolous: Dwight became a superstar right around the time Shaq’s career started to fade, and one of his first globally resonant moments as a rising face of the league came in the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. Dwight wore a Superman shirt and cape for his biggest dunk, which Shaq — self-nicknamed “Superman” — saw as an incursion on his turf. It started a war of words that reignited every time the two players faced each other.
If that sounds dumb, just keep following this beef after O’Neal left the league. Shaq instantly became a TNT personality, and has spent quite a bit of time in that capacity piling on Dwight for his failures — to remain a superstar, and to satisfy O’Neal’s rubric of what makes a great NBA center. This beef has included impressions, rapping, and some reeeeeally silly tweets and Instagram posts.
Check out the whole story in this episode of BEEF HISTORY and find more episodes in our playlist.