It was quite a weekend for Milwaukee Bucks superstar point guard Damian Lillard. Not only did he successfully defend his 3-point contest crown, he also got named the Most Valuable Player of the 2024 NBA All-Star Game. Now, it’s back to reality for Lillard, who is hoping that his eventful trip to Hoosier State was enough spark for him, as he looks to snap out of a slump. But before that, Lillard (and Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo) got hit with some reality check from NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

You and Giannis are being too nice. When it’s all said and done and it don’t work out three people are going to be blamed, Doc, you, and Giannis,” the Most Dominant Player Ever said after Lillard helped the East All-Stars take down their West counterparts via an unreal score of 211-186.

“There’s no reason you should be 3-7 with Doc Rivers over there… You’re gonna have to grab some people by the necks and say, ‘Hey, this is what I need you to do,” Shaq added.


Shaq has long been retired from the game but there’s no denying that he knew what he was talking about. His four NBA rings are strong proof of that. 

Under Rivers, Lillard and the Bucks have won just three times in 10 games. Among those losses were against the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat at home and versus the supposedly icy corpse of the Memphis Grizzlies on the road  just before the midseason break. Those are two brutal defeats that a team like the Bucks shouldn’t have suffered.

Some growing pains within the team are to be expected of the Bucks as they continue to adjust to Rivers and vice versa, but the window of acceptance for such a convenient excuse is quickly closing –  if it hasn’t already.

For Shaq, it is time for the Bucks leaders, Giannis and Dame, to start bossing around and asking more from the supporting cast.

That said, Lillard, in particular, has to lead by example. He has been inefficient of late, having recorded just a 49.6 effective field goal percentage and 56.3 true shooting percentage in his last eight games.

The 35-21 Bucks can get back on track on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road – a tough test right out of the gate of the season’s second half.