Jusuf Nurkic to Shaquille O'Neal: 'Not Losing Money, No Fights in NBA'

Recent NBA dispute sparks debate over on-court conduct.

by Nouman Rasool
Jusuf Nurkic to Shaquille O'Neal: 'Not Losing Money, No Fights in NBA'
© Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

In a recent fiery exchange, Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic firmly countered Shaquille O'Neal's criticism following the NBA legend's comments on his podcast. O'Neal, known for his outspoken personality, labeled Nurkic 'soft' during an episode of "The Big Podcast with Shaq," a remark that stemmed from an on-court incident involving Nurkic and Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green.

Nurkic-Green Legal Drama

The controversy ignited when Nurkic was allegedly considering legal action against Green after an altercation in a Suns-Warriors game. O'Neal, a vocal advocate of traditional basketball toughness, expressed his disapproval of such a move, questioning Nurkic's resilience and commitment to the unspoken codes of the sport.

Reacting to O'Neal's critique, Nurkic took to social media to clear the air. His response on Twitter was direct: he denied any intent to pursue legal action, emphasizing his focus on the game rather than off-court battles.

"Lmao, first I never said that," Nurkic tweeted, dismissing the rumors as fabrications. He added, "Shaqilovic, I'm not from here. I'm not losing money, and nobody fighting in this NBA." This isn't the first time O'Neal has targeted Nurkic over the incident with Green.

Earlier, Shaq expressed frustration over what he perceived as a violation of the so-called 'Big Man Alliance' - an informal fraternity of dominant NBA centers upholding a certain toughness and physicality on the court. Shaq's disappointment was palpable as he lamented Nurkic's perceived lack of retaliation, which he felt undermined the traditional image of NBA centers.

Nurkic's stance, however, speaks to a broader shift in the NBA's culture. His refusal to engage in physical retaliation is not only a personal choice but also a strategic decision in a league where discipline and financial prudence are increasingly valued.

This approach aligns with a modern understanding of professionalism in sports, where physical confrontations are often seen as detrimental to both players' careers and teams' objectives.