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How Rudy Gobert earned the ‘respect’ of Shaq after beef

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during Game 3.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) looks on as the Jazz and Dallas Mavericks play Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

It’s been an interesting week for Rudy Gobert, who has gone back and forth with Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal on social media.

It all started when Anthony Adams, on O’Neal’s podcast, said that Gobert would hold Shaq to 12 points.

“Yeah, in the first three minutes,” O’Neal responded.

Gobert replied to a social media post of that statement, saying he would “lock his (butt) up.”

On Tuesday, Gobert cleared the air. Gobert texted Taylor Rooks, who was interviewing O’Neal, saying that he has no “beef” with Shaq.

“I do think I could lock him up. I’m never going to look at someone, whoever it is, and say, ‘Yeah, you would score 40 on me.’ That’s not my mentality,” Gobert said, per Rooks. “I would love to go against prime Shaq. That would be a great challenge for me.”

“That’s the way you have to think or you have no chance. Tell Shaq that I appreciate the love,” Gobert said, per Rooks.

“Rudy, I respect that,” O’Neal said.

“A lot of times when I throw jabs, people think it’s hate or whatever. When really, I’m just challenging them,” O’Neal said. “If I say something, prove me wrong. It’s never beef.”

Gobert continued his defense by mentioning Skip Bayless, the Fox Sports commentator, on Twitter.