It was less than two years ago, in a pre-COVID time, when Damian Lillard and Shaquille O’Neal were exchanging diss records at each other, and the rest of us witnessed it play out over the course of a week. Now, to be fair, the beef was “just for fun,” according to O’Neal at least, but it’s worth revisiting in the interim.
The activities were kick-started when Lillard appeared on The Joe Budden Podcast, back when Rory and Mal were there, and the group discussed who was the better rapper between O’Neal and Lillard. At the 11:10 mark of the below video, when the Shaq discussion begins, you could see Lillard smiling as Mal says O’Neal’s put out good albums throughout the course of his career, despite clearly being an inferior lyricist to Lillard. Lillard said he felt that he was better.
Later that month, from what may have been a banana phone line, O’Neal recorded the first of a series of diss records between the two, rapping over the instrumental to “What’s the Difference?” by Dr. Dre, Eminem and Xzibit. The quality of the diss was awful. Lillard answered with Reign Reign Go Away one day later. Similar to what Drake did with Meek Mill years ago, without a reply, Lillard added in “I Rest My Case” three days later, which featured, among others, the following lyrics:
You not a rapper, you comedy, commentary, and actor / Feed ‘em with a slingshot, you better call the pastor / David and Goliath, your stature’s a non-factor / Friends really love you, they scatter and contact you like / ‘Shaq just let it be ‘cause no weapons gon’ ever prosper’ / Remember you’re a cop with endorsements and you’re a doctor
O’Neal came back with “Second Round Knockout,” (and better quality!) sharing the title of the famous Canibus diss over LL Cool J from 1998, rapping over “Victory” by Puff Daddy, Notorious B.I.G., and Busta Rhymes. Shaq wasn’t terrible, to be honest. Lillard clearly won, though.
Anyway, now they’re apparently collaborating on a new “Shaqnosis” sneaker together, 25 years following its initial debut, according to stories by ESPN and Nice Kicks. Because of course they are. It’s a collaboration by Reebok and their parent organization Adidas. The Shaqnosis are a Reebok fixture, while Adidas has an ongoing partnership with Lillard.
Hmm. Shaqnosis in Portland Trail Blazers colors. Does this mean Lillard won’t request a trade after all?