The 2019-20 NBA season is upon us, which also means that TNT's beloved show Inside The NBA is almost back.
What's great is that one of its hosts, basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, can't seem to wait for the ball to start rolling before having fun with current players — being petty with Damian Lillard in particular. It's 2019, and the basketball legend and Portland Trail Blazers superstar are engaged in an intense rap beef, dropping diss tracks aimed at each other recently.
Shaq is no stranger to NBA feuds and using rhyme in his rebuttals; just ask Kobe Bryant, JaVale McGee, LaVar Ball, and even his own colleague, Charles Barkley. Meanwhile, Lillard hasn't been afraid to channel his hip-hop persona Dame D.O.L.L.A. to deal with his detractors, which Marvin Bagley learned the hard way.
But how the hell did this Shaq-Dame back-and-forth even start?
The latest NBA rap beef can be traced back to a September episode of the Joe Budden Podcast, where Lillard was a guest and O'Neal's early hip-hop career and platinum selling debut, Shaq Diesel, were brought up. Dame must have thought that throwing shade at basketball's biggest and most sensitive athlete was a good way to hype his third album, Big D.O.L.L.A.
He said, "I think I rap better than Shaq. I've heard Shaq's stuff. I think he was viewed as Shaq, though. People was like, this Shaq. It wasn't like, Shaq and Biggie. People weren't looking like this a real rapper. It was like, 'That's Shaq rapping.' So, of course, it was a big deal."
Just like how he is still salty about reporter Fred Hickman denying him of a unanimous MVP in 2000 and "destroy(ing) history," Shaq wasn't about to let this one go and had to "come out of retirement to one of these undisciplined children."
Watch the Big Puppet spit bars:
Diesel really went hard in reminding everyone who is the OG of NBA rappers. In true Shaq fashion, he belittled Dame and his body of work ("You'll never be Westbrook, never be Curry"), while trolling innocent players that had nothing to do with the beef ("Talkin' like your 'Bron, you ain't even Trevor Ariza"). The four-time champion also made up for the poor sound quality, production value, and flow with a snappy beat and punchy references that were reminiscent of his in-your-face approach on the court.
If you know Lillard, then you're aware of how ultra-competitive the four-time All-NBA Team member is. The same man who shivers at the thought of being part of a super team promptly released a diss track of his own to counter Shaq's banger, possibly as a bonus cut in his fresh record.
Listen to Dame D.O.L.L.A.'s Reign Reign Go Away:
Ooh, that hurt like his dagger three that basically sent the Thunder franchise into rebuild mode.
Lillard didn't pull any punches and brutally destroyed Shaq's crutch argument ("Kobe won you them rings, bro" "Even in Miami, won that on the strength of Flash"). The star point guard also took digs on O'Neal's ugly divorce with Orlando ("All the money in the world, but traded you for Penny") and twilight years ("Kinda like the Cavs ain't really need Diesel a**"). Similar to those logo bombs in the clutch, his verses were cold-blooded when it mattered the most.
In the end, though, Dame dismissed the idea of bad blood between him and the Big Fella. He simply had to keep things real after Shaq's lyrical assault: "He just dissed me and I dissed him back."
Uh, we don't know about that, Dame.