Shaquille O’Neal’s TNT interview with Donovan Mitchell quickly turned cringe-worthy on Thursday night.
O’Neal seemingly tried to take credit for Mitchell’s 36-point effort in the Jazz’s 129-118 victory over the Pelicans on Thursday night.
“I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level,” he started on the postgame interview on “Inside the NBA.”
“I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?”
Mitchell, 24, is one of the rising stars in the game and recently signed a $195 million extension with the Jazz. He has led the team to the playoffs in all three of his NBA seasons and this one appears on a similar path with an 11-4 start. The win over New Orleans was the team’s seventh straight.
“Aight … that’s it.” Mitchell said before several awkward seconds of silence. “I’ve been hearing that since my rookie season. I’m just going to keep doing what I do.”
Shaq responded: “That’s what I wanted to hear you say, love your game brother, keep it up.”
Mitchell’s teammate Mike Conley was also confused by the interview.
“I’ve been a big fan of Don’s and seeing the way he’s grown, even before he was here,” he said. “I don’t know how you can make a statement like that regarding his progress at such a young age. He’s gotten better every year.”