Shaquille O’Neal Says Men’s College Basketball Players ‘Suck’ but the Women Are ‘Kicking A–‘

NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal had some choice words for men’s college basketball on the newest episode of his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” and offered praise to women’s college basketball players.

A clip from the latest episode that featured NFL quarterback Kirk Cousins and released on Wednesday is making the rounds on social media. On this episode of the weekly podcast, which is co-hosted by O’Neal and Adam Lefkoe, Cousins asked the four-time NBA champion if he was watching this year’s March Madness and if he is following LSU nowadays.

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“The boys suck so I’m not following, but I’m definitely following the girls,” O’Neal said, responding to Cousins. “Actually, women’s basketball is kicking a–.”

O’Neal went on to describe just how invested he is in the current women’s game. “It was kind of like an epiphany,” he said. “Last week was the first time I watched all girls’ games. I’ve never done that before, ever.”

The retired NBA great named several players who he believes are leading the women’s game, including JuJu Watkins of USC, Caitlin Clark of Iowa and Angel Reese of LSU.

All three players O’Neal named have name, image and likeness (NIL) sneaker deals. Watkins and Clark are backed by Nike, and Reese is tied to Reebok. Reese — who declared for the WNBA Draft on Wednesday — was O’Neal’s first athlete signing as president of Reebok Basketball.

Although O’Neal named three women’s college basketball stars, he couldn’t do the same for their male counterparts. “I don’t think I know any men’s [players],” he said.

O’Neal, like Reese, played college basketball at LSU. During his college days, O’Neal was a two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, earned first-team All-American honors twice and won the Rupp Award in 1991, which is given to the best player in men’s Division I NCAA basketball. O’Neal was also the first LSU player to record back-to-back 400-plus rebound seasons and the third at LSU to have at least two 700-plus point seasons.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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