O’Neal offered the same answer on whether Bryant would win a sixth championship before retiring, let alone make the playoffs.
“I hope they will,” O’Neal said. “I’m a big man guy. The other guy needs to step into his own.”
O’Neal was referring to Dwight Howard, whom he expects to average 28 points and 10 rebounds per game. Howard entered Tuesday’s game against Dallas averaging 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds per contest, his lowest numbers since the 2005-06 season.
“That’s the number that was thrown into my face,” O’Neal said. “So that’s the number I’m going to throw into his face.”
What about Howard’s back surgery and torn labrum in his right shoulder?
“My father, a military drill sergeant, his motto was if you can walk, you can play,” O’Neal said. “I wish there was a time when I was injury free when I played. I understand his pain. But no pain, no gain.”
O’Neal marveled how Howard dunked from the free throw line in the 2008 NBA Dunk contest.
“I don’t think Wilt [Chamberlain] would have been able to do that,” O’Neal said. “I know I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do that. I just look at stuff like that. He has the potential to be one of the greatest big man ever. But he has to want it.”