Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein may have upset some of his players when he reportedly referred to the group as “thugs” during a recent film session, but he has the support of NBA Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. During the January 9th edition of Inside The NBA, Shaq called out the Cavs’ players for being overly sensitive and attempting to get Beilein fired.
“If you have to be apologized to for your coach calling you a thug, you ain’t gonna never win. You’re soft, period… Stop being so sensitive.”
Barkley added, “To be complaining about a coach who’s coming in trying to make y’all work on fundamentals when y’all stink, make y’all watch film, make y’all practice hard – this is starting to be a joke.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Beilein told his players they were playing “like a bunch of thugs,” but he later apologized once the word got out. Says Beilein, “I didn’t realize I had said the word ‘thugs’ but my staff told me later I did and so I must have said it. I meant to say slugs, as in slow moving. We weren’t playing hard before…now we were playing harder. That’s what I was trying to say. I meant it as a compliment.”
Shaq, Chuck and Kenny had some fun with the slugs situation on Thursday night, cracking themselves up with jokes like “Slug Life” and “We listen to Bone Slugs-N-Harmony.” Check out the footage below.