Shaquille O’Neal Pays Ja Morant the Ultimate Compliment By Invoking Kobe Bryant

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Ja Morant, rookie point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been a sensation since his NBA debut. He’s averaging 14 points and 3 assists over 20 minutes of play so far this season. Ja is also a consensus top-10 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft with an interesting backstory that makes him one of the more intriguing players to watch in basketball today

Shaquille O’Neal paid Ja Morant the ultimate compliment by invoking Kobe Bryant. In a recent interview, O’Neal said that he was “a lot like Kobe.” Read more in detail here: when did shaq retire.

Shaquille O'Neal Pays Ja Morant the Ultimate Compliment By Invoking Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O’Neal has an immaculate NBA career, even if his analysis might leave much to be desired on times. Aside from his individual statistics and four championship rings, the big man shared the court with legends like as Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Penny Hardaway.

Simply said, Shaq recognizes ability when he sees it. And he notices it in Ja Morant’s performance.

On Thursday, April 21, O’Neal lavished praise on Memphis Grizzlies guard Marc Gasol. Morant, in the Diesel’s opinion, has a “it factor” that reminds him of three past colleagues.

Ja Morant has some of Kobe Bryant’s edge, according to Shaq.

Even though the two men have their disagreements, Shaq still holds Kobe Bryant in high esteem. That alone should indicate how remarkable O’Neal thinks Ja Morant is.

“I had the opportunity to play alongside three fantastic guards who had that ‘it factor,’” noted the TNT commentator. “Penny Hardaway was the first person I saw.” He had been chilly since the first year. He’d gotten it. ‘Listen, I’m the greatest player on the floor,’ Kobe Bryant used to say. ‘I don’t give a damn who’s here.’ Then there was the day when I traveled to Miami to play with D-Wade. [Morant] possesses the “it” factor. He is well aware that he is the top player on the floor. He already understands he’s a fantastic player.”

The compliments, on the other hand, didn’t stop there.

Shaq said, “Kudos to Taylor Jenkins for letting [Morant] do what he does.” “A lot of coaches will tell you, ‘Don’t make that two-handed bounce pass.’ ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that.’ Taylor Jenkins, on the other hand, just sits back and enjoys the show. When you’re dealing with a man who has that ‘it factor,’ you simply have to let it ride. He’s a fantastic athlete. I know I said it a few of months ago, but he reminds me of Kobe Bryant. And he does, because when I first met Kobe at the age of 17, he had that “it” factor. He was well aware that he was the guy. He knew he’d be the greatest player of all time one day. That’s what comes to mind when I think of this cat [Morant].”

Comparisons to Kobe Bryant are difficult to make, but Ja Morant has already amassed a solid NBA résumé.

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Kobe Bryant is almost unbeatable in the world of basketball. As a result, any parallels between current players and the late Lakers’ greats are a little iffy. Ja Morant, on the other hand, has already proved himself in the NBA.

While the Grizzlies guard had a strong first two seasons in the league, he stepped up his game during the 2021-22 season. Morant had a 27.4-point, 6.7-rebound, and 1.2-steal per game average. Even if he eventually fell short, it was enough to get him into the MVP debate.

It’s also worth mentioning that Ja is a tremendously entertaining player, regardless of the box score. With equal ease, he can dish out rim-rocking dunks, highlight-reel blocks, and 50-point games. When comparing someone to Kobe, those unforgettable moments are a big part of what makes him a “icon.”

Apart from that, Morant’s résumé will (most likely) fill up over time. Individual distinctions, such as MVP awards, are very certainly on the way. An NBA title may be more difficult to achieve, but the Grizzlies are on the rise and presently sit as the Western Conference’s second-seeded club. It’s also feasible that Ja will leave town in search of a ring. While residents of Tennessee may not want to contemplate it, he has shown enough potential to win a spot on almost any team’s squad.

Predicting the future, particularly in sports, is notoriously difficult. One catastrophic injury may dramatically change the trajectory of a career. Ja Morant, on the other hand, is on course to achieve something extraordinary, barring any unexpected setbacks. You may practice shooting and refine your talents, but you can’t learn how to have the ‘it factor.’

Basketball-Reference.com provided the statistics.

RELATED: 3 Reasons Why the Minnesota Timberwolves Can Upset the Grizzlies and Shake Up the Western Conference Playoffs

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