Shaquille O’Neal says he’s only watching women’s college basketball this year: ‘The boys suck’

NBA great Shaquille O’Neal has not shied away from his support of the LSU women’s basketball team and star player Angel Reese, but the former Los Angeles Lakers star recently expressed his interest in the women’s game as a whole over the men’s. 

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” special guest Kirk Cousins asked O’Neal if he’s been tuning into any of the NCAA tournament games. Despite admitting that he hasn’t, when asked if he’s been following LSU’s run, Shaq made it clear that he’s only been keeping up with the Lady Tigers.

Angel Reese drives

LSU Tigers forward Angel Reese controls the ball against Iowa Hawkeyes forward Hannah Stuelke in the NCAA Tournament at MVP Arena in Albany, New York, on April 1, 2024. (Gregory Fisher-USA Today Sports)

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

He continued, adding that he had an “epiphany” while watching the women’s tournament exclusively. 

“Last week was like the first time I watched all girls’ games. Like I’ve never done it before, ever. It was crazy – Juju Watkins, Caitlin [Clark], my girl Angel Reese – they just killed it. 

“I don’t think I know any men’s [players].” 

Shaq in Vegas

Shaquille O’Neal attends a game between the LSU Lady Tigers and the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena on Nov. 6, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


The interest in women’s college basketball has reached new heights this year thanks to stars like Reese, Clark and Watkins. 

Iowa’s rematch of last year’s national championship game against LSU in the Elite Eight drew record numbers, averaging 12.3 million viewers on ESPN for what is now the most-watched women’s college basketball game in history. 

Ticket sales for the women’s Final Four are also the most expensive ever recorded on the secondary market, with the average semifinal ticket going for $1,994 on StubHub, according to TicketIQ. 

Caitlin Clark after win

Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes and her teammates celebrate after beating the LSU Tigers 94-87 in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on April 1, 2024, in Albany, New York. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

LeBron James, whose son declared for the NBA Draft on Friday, also spoke about the surge in interest. 

“I don’t think there’s much difference between the men’s and women’s game when it comes to college basketball. I think the popularity comes in is the icons that they have in the women’s game,” he said Wednesday. 

The women’s Final Four begins with South Carolina vs. NC State Friday at 7 p.m. ET. 

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