Before Shaquille O'Neal's jersey was retired Tuesday, he took a few digs at the current Lakers' big man.
O'Neal was asked whether he thinks that Kobe Bryant will win another championship before he retires. His response was aimed directly at Howard.
"I hope they will, but I'm a big-man guy," O'Neal said. "The other guy needs to step into his own."
O'Neal went on to say that he'd like to see Howard average 28 points and 10 rebounds a game.
"That's the number that was thrown in my face, 28 and 10, so that's the number I'm always going to throw in his face," O'Neal said.
After the Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks, Dwight Howard was told about some of O'Neal's comments.
"I just feel in today's society, if you have something to say, positive or negative about somebody, then you should go to that person and say it to them because people can twist it and turn it in any kind of way," Howard said. "Nevertheless, like I said, I'm happy for Shaq."
O'Neal has publicly criticized Howard throughout the season, at different points even asserting that DeAndre Jordan, Robin Lopez and Andrew Bynum are better centers.
Despite O'Neal's shots, Howard had nothing but praise for O'Neal on his big night.
"I'm happy for him despite everything thing he's ever said about me," Howard said.
Howard also called O'Neal "one of the greatest ever to play" and "one of the funniest guys off the court."
"I'm happy for him," Howard said. "He's done a lot of great things for the NBA and also the Lakers and he deserves it. He deserves to have his number retired for all of the hard work he's done, and that's what we all want as players, is to have our numbers retired."
Howard, however, couldn't resist the opportunity to crack a joke.
When asked where the Lakers' determination came from in their 101-81 win over the Mavs, Howard flashed a giant smile.
"Shaq," Howard said, laughing.
ALSO:Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times