Count Shaquille O’Neal among those who are starting to believe in the Knicks.
With the NBA playoffs right around the corner, O’Neal took some time to praise the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed for their performance this year. In particular, he complimented the performance of the team’s star big man, Zach Randolph.
Yes, on TNT’s pregame coverage of the Celtics-Heat game, O’Neal got his wires crossed when describing the Knicks. He meant to mention the team’s All-Star forward Julius Randle, but instead invoked the name of Randolph, who hasn’t played in the NBA since 2017 and hasn’t been on the Knicks’ roster since the 2008-09 season.
“They’re playing well,” O’Neal said of the Knicks. “(Coach Tom) Thibodeau is doing a great job and Zach Randolph is playing MVP caliber basketball.”
The broadcast quickly corrected O’Neal, who Shaq brushed it off. He had a pretty simple reason for why he called Randolph’s number instead of Randle’s.
“I was thinking about my boy Zach. Z-Bo, what’s up?”
In fairness to Shaq, Randolph and Randle have similar last names and career numbers. Randle has averaged 17.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his career, while Randolph averaged 16.6 points and 9.1 rebounds.
That said, Randle may like to get a little more love in a season that has seen him average a double-double and make it to the All-Star Game for the first time in his seven-year career. Maybe if the Knicks continue to play well and make a little run in the postseason, Randle will earn some more recognition for what has easily been his best pro season to date.