The always contentious load management issue is one of the NBA’s current points of contention. Even though there are 82 games in the regular season, it only takes a maximum of 28 games to crown an NBA champion.

The risk-reward equation therefore greatly favors the postseason. Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning are aware of this, and they firmly feel that the regular season still has value—at least beyond issues pertaining to a championship.

Miami Heat icons Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning advised today’s superstars to give everything they have to advance the game, including deviating from the load management trend, in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Richard Jefferson.

Shaq fires

“I exhort the lads to participate. This thing of ours, this thing that you help us create, is abounding at the moment. To play hard, I implore you all to go outside. Give a fantastic performance for the parents who paid so much to see you perform, O’Neal said.

Mourning, on the other hand, was considerably more direct in his criticism. Mourning said, “And no more load management,” to Richard Jefferson’s satisfaction. The pioneers who paved the path all participated in basketball.

This looks to be a subtle jab at Kawhi Leonard, among others, who, during his lone season with the Toronto Raptors, introduced the concept of “load management.” While it may be annoying when players take their time to heal from injuries, in the NBA of today, players hold significant power, and the team places the utmost importance on their physical and emotional wellness.

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It’s uncertain whether players ever resume carrying a load similar to what was carried back then. Shaquille O’Neal is aware that superstars are required to contribute to the game’s continued financial success or even improvement.

“Remember, the deadline for the collective bargaining agreement is approaching. You guys need to safeguard this thing of ours if you want to keep making 40, 50, or 60 million dollars, O’Neal continued.


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