Did anyone expect Jermaine O’Neal to be this productive for the Golden State Warriors?
The free agent addition has proven to be an excellent signing, providing veteran presence and leadership in the locker room. We saw a taste of his character during a postgame interview last week, but Tuesday night was a prime example of how valuable he is to this Warriors team.
With the Warriors down by 17 at halftime to the Raptors, O’Neal made what Klay Thompson described as “one of the realest speeches I’ve ever heard.”
Here’s a snippet of what O’Neal said after the game, via Bay Area Sports Guy:
We should’ve given our fans their money back after that first half of basketball. Very disappointing, considering we’re talking about doing something special. If we’re going to be a good team, we’ve got to play like a good team. Take care of business against teams that are underperforming right now.
If we’re going to be a good team, we shouldn’t have moments when we’re ashamed and we’re down damn near 30. We talked about resolve and really challenged the guys to show what that resolve was.
If we’re talking about being a playoff team or we’re talking about being a eighth, seventh, sixth seed, whatever that was, that’s good enough. But if we’re talking about winning a championship, then we need to figure out a way to bring it every single night, dispose of the teams that we’re supposed to dispose of and grind like hell against top echelon teams.
Not only did O’Neal inspire the comeback, but he also contributed to it, scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds while leading the team with a plus-minus rating of +30. The 35-year-old veteran may have his glory days behind him, but he’s still finding ways to play a key role on the Warriors.