Trash-talkers Division: 3. Shaquille O’Neal vs. 6. Mark Cuban
3. Shaquille O’Neal
Much like his longtime coach Phil Jackson did, Shaquille O’Neal has also found ways to take digs at one of his biggest career rivals. Undoubtedly bothered by the fact that he finished his career with four championships to Tim Duncan’s five, O’Neal has repeatedly discredited the 1999 title, doing so again as recently as three months ago.
“I would tell Mr. Duncan this to his face. You have four rings. Yeah, it says you have five, but the asterisks don’t count,” said Shaq on The Big Podcast. O’Neal’s Lakers were swept on the way to the Spurs’ title that year, though he claimed he “wasn’t into it” when it came to the postseason. Yeah, ok, Shaq.
To his credit, Shaquille constantly credits Tim Duncan as one of the greatest big men of all time, but his pettiness toward the team’s accomplishments earns him a high seed in this tournament.
6. Mark Cuban
The Dallas Mavericks were always a thorn in the side of the San Antonio Spurs during their numerous title runs in the 2000s. The tip of that thorn, at least emotionally, was Mark Cuban. Cuban couldn’t help himself when it came to yelling at officials during games, yelling at opponents, and talking trash about his Texas rivals.
“So I think there’s a lot more animosity between the Mavs and the Spurs, and they still have that muddy ugly-a** River Walk,” Cuban once said in an interview. Cuban made the River Walk a constant target, mostly because he knew it would get under the skin of San Antonio’s residents.
“You guys are so sensitive about the River Walk. It’s just so easy, why would I not do it?” said Cuban in 2014. While he made his comments about San Antonio in jest, his Little Brother Syndrome toward the Spurs throughout that era is more than enough to warrant the villain label.