NBA Hall of Famers and TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley recently exasperated Toronto Raptors fans by lamenting that the team is stuck in “no man's land.”
The team’s centre, Chris Boucher, clapped back at the comments, asserting that “you don't watch us.”
On the latest episode of his podcast, "Hustle Play," the 29-year-old took time to address the remarks made by Barkley and O’Neal. While disagreeing with the notion that a team needs a superstar to win in today’s NBA, Boucher quickly dismissed the credibility of the two legends based on their past predictions on the Raptors, specifically referencing O’Neal’s hot take that Toronto would be swept in the first round.
“I think the league is changing where it could be a collective group,” Boucher explained. “You know what I'm saying? But to be honest with you, I think if they think that about us, that's what I think about everything they say. You say, we were gonna get swept. After you said that, I don't even know if I could listen to anything you say.
Shaq and Charles. Like, how many times did they say stuff, and it don't happen? OK. So if they think that about us, they think we can't win a championship, now what's new about that? I know for sure that the team that we had, nobody thought we would get there.”
The Montreal native went on to chastise the famed analysts for seldom watching the Raptors and that they merely brush up on Toronto games once they hear that they’ll be in the postseason.
“You don't watch us,” Boucher said. “You probably watch, like— when you say, oh, the Raptors are in the playoffs? OK, let me go watch a couple of games, see how they play, and start talking. Watch us. And then you could talk how much you want.”
Upon losing in Game 6 to the Sixers, Barkley posited that Toronto is “no man’s land” and is “just good enough to make it to the playoffs and that’s it.” O’Neal, adding to his cohort's remarks, stated that “they don’t have no stars. Definitely don’t have no superstars.”
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) April 29, 2022
Boucher repudiated the latter take as well, stating that Pascal Siakam is on the cusp of his second All-NBA selection and Fred VanVleet is fresh off of his first all-star appearance.
“So if we all go back this summer, and all get better. Pascal isn't— you think he's not a superstar? He's gonna be in All-NBA,” Boucher said. “Fred was an all-star. I don't know what you're saying. What that we don't have? It's just because we're young, obviously. And you guys don't watch us. So you don't know much.”
Boucher is a free agent this summer and only time will tell whether he will be around to keep proving the naysayers wrong.
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