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Deseret News
Utah Jazz's Karl Malone talks to the ref after being called for a technical on May 18, 1998, in a playoff series against Los Angeles Lakers.

SALT LAKE CITY — Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want to hear anybody rip on the Utah Jazz’s NBA Finals team.

The Big Aristotle/Shamrock/Daddy, Diesel or whatever you want to call the Hall of Fame center posted a meme sticking up for John Stockton, Karl Malone & Co. on his Instagram account Thursday.

The post showed a photo of young NBA up-and-comers O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones next to a Finals-era photo of Stockton and Malone in purple mountain jerseys.

The meme read: “The 1998 Jazz SWEPT this Lakers squad with 4 All-Stars in the playoffs yet people still say this Jazz team was ‘weak Finals competition.’ The team with more All-Stars isn’t always the better TEAM. A team is more than just a collection of talent. The Utah Jazz were a great TEAM.”

Along with posting that meme, Shaq wrote that he agreed.

“This is true,” he said. “We couldn’t beat these boys for nothing.”

Bryant has also given this Jazz team respect in the past, even saying that his infamous four-airball performance against Utah in the Western Conference Finals pushed him to take his game to another level.

Deseret News
FILE: Lakers look on from the bench during Game 2 on May 18, 1998.

The comments on Shaq’s Instagram post were all over the board, of course.

“But the Bulls could,” @blaze_7_7_3 said, regarding Chicago’s second straight 4-2 series win over the Jazz.

“Never understood how the jazz were considered weak comp. the mailman use to Destroy the warriors. Hated that guy,” @sciscocuerva wrote.

“Stockton to Malone my dude!!” wrote @marc_t_villain.

“Karl Malone gets no respect all because he didn’t get a championship. In his prime, he was a beast,” @jay_peters70 wrote.

“Those were some painful losses Shaq,” added @theoldsoulhfp. “But they were growing pains as we would all see later. #3Peat”

As of Thursday night, the post had 194,774 likes.

JAZZMAN'S SON HAS GAME

Sports fans on Twitter who don’t follow the Bountiful High basketball team found out something interesting Thursday night, thanks to KSL’s Jeremiah Jensen.

Robert Whaley, the former Utah Jazz player, has a son who plays for the Braves.

This son, by the way, has some hops.

MORE LINKS

• Former University of Utah star tight end Ben Moa finished his college degree 15 years after leaving the college to play for the Miami Dolphins and eventually becoming an MMA fighter.

Check out these stories about Moa — one in the Deseret News from 2003 and this 2018 feature from MMAJunkie.com about how he turned to MMA fighting after his football career to fill a void in his life.

• Dixie State football coaching staff is finalized.

• This runner's watch tells more than just time — it tells investigators about an assassin.

WEEKEND PLANNER

Friday, Jan. 18

  • Tennis: Australian Open
  • IBSF Skeleton Intercontinental Cup, Utah Olympic Park
  • NBA: Jazz vs. Cavaliers, 7 p.m.
  • ECHL: Grizzlies vs. Tulsa, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Dixie State at Colorado Christian, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Westminster at Regis, 7:30 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Utah vs. Colorado, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State at Colorado Christian, 5 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Westminster at Regis, 5:30 p.m.
  • Gymnastics: Utah State vs. BYU, 7 p.m.
  • Gymnastics: SUU vs. Boise State, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s volleyball: BYU at Penn State, 5 p.m.
  • Wrestling: UVU vs. Fresno State, 7 p.m.
  • Diving: Utah at UCLA Diving Invitational
  • Skiing: Utah at Montana State Invitational
  • Track: BYU at Air Force Invite
  • Track: Utah State at Montana State
  • Track: USU, WSU at Ed Jacoby Invitational
  • Track: SUU at NAU team challenge

Saturday, Jan. 19

2 comments on this story
  • Tennis: Australian Open
  • IBSF Skeleton Intercontinental Cup, Utah Olympic Park
  • ECHL: Grizzlies vs. Tulsa, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: BYU at San Francisco, 9 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Utah State vs. Colorado State, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: UVU vs. New Mexico State, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Weber State vs. Northern Colorado, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: SUU vs. Sacramento State, 1 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Dixie State at Regis, 5 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Westminster at Colorado Christian, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s basketball: Snow at USU-Eastern, 5 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: BYU vs. Portland, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Utah State at CSU
  • Women’s basketball: UVU at New Mexico State
  • Women’s basketball: SUU at Sacramento State
  • Women’s basketball: Dixie State at Regis
  • Women’s basketball: Westminster at Colorado Christian, 5 p.m.
  • Women’s basketball: Snow at USU-Eastern, 3 p.m.
  • Gymnastics: Utah at Oregon State, 3 p.m.
  • Men’s volleyball: BYU at Saint Francis
  • Wrestling: UVU hosts UVU Open
  • Diving: Utah at UCLA Diving Invitational
  • Skiing: Utah at Montana State Invitational
  • Men’s tennis: Utah vs. Weber State, noon and vs. Montana, 5 p.m.
  • Men’s tennis: BYU at FAU, 1 p.m.
  • Men’s tennis: Utah State at San Diego, 2 p.m.
  • Men’s tennis: SUU at Austin Peay, noon
  • Women’s tennis: Utah vs. SUU/Utah State
  • Track: Utah at Jackson’s Invitational, at Boise
  • Track: Utah State, WSU at Ed Jacoby Invitational, at Nampa, Idaho

Sunday, Jan. 20

  • Tennis: Australian Open
  • Men’s basketball: Utah vs. Colorado, 4 p.m.
  • Diving: Utah at UCLA Diving Invitational
  • Men’s tennis: Utah State at UC Irvine, noon
  • Men’s tennis: SUU at Cumberland, 10 a.m.
  • Women’s tennis: Utah State vs. SUU, 11 a.m.