For years, O’Neal was the league’s biggest diva. It soured his relationships with Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. As he got older, he became even more envious of the next generation of big men. He was most famous for calling Chris Bosh the Rupaul of NBA Big Men but most of his energy has gone towards denigrating Howard and Bynum.

In Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard’s attempts to distance themselves from Shaquille O’Neal, the ironic thing is that they are slowly becoming him. Shaq had amazing prowess for a player of his size and strength but he also left behind a trail of vitriol and destruction in every franchise he left. Bynum and Howard aren’t teammates but the pair are reminiscent of the WWE’s seven-foot “brothers of destruction” Undertaker and Kane. (It doesn’t help that Stan Van Gundy resembles their manager Paul Bearer right down to the thick mustache, short frame and protruding belly)

Both entered the league with vastly different levels of hype. Howard was drafted first overall in 2004 as the expected savior of the Orlando Magic.

However, they also had plenty of similarities. Howard was the first great Magic center since O’Neal chose Hollywood over the Magic Kingdom in 1996. Bynum was drafted with expectations of developing into Shaq the sequel but spent his first three seasons as a little used reserve.

After a few underwhelming seasons, Bynum’s has finally stayed injury-free and allowed the young center to challenge Howard as the NBA’s best most dominant presence. Unfortunately, as they’ve grown up the NBA’s two best big men have also become the league’s most immature superstars.

On Thursday, in one of the most awkward moments in NBA history, Howard’s clandestine mission to get Van Gundy fired unraveled after Stan Van Gundy admitted the rumors were true before a morning shoot around. The situation only got more bizarre as Dwight Howard unwittingly walked up to Van Gundy acting everything was copacetic between the two and asked who the media’s source was for their “false reports”. It was only the latest in a series of events that have involved Howard trying to usurp control over the Magic’s front office decisions.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Bynum who earned his first All-Star nod this season has done everything he can to display the lack of respect he has for head coach Mike Brown.

Bynum began the season on the bench after he leveled diminutive Mavericks guard J.J. Barea as the Mavericks put the finishing touches on their four game sweep of Los Angeles but since getting benched for launching an ill advised three pointer against the Golden State Warriors, Bynum has committed a series of missteps that have accented the immaturity problems that we’ve since glimpses of since his rookie season. Unfortunately, Bynum’s temper tantrums and insubordination have been on the rise recently. It’s only a matter of time until his inflating ego becomes a major distraction in the Lakers locker room.

After Kobe Bryant missed his first 15 shots before hitting the game-winner against New Orleans reporter asked Bynum what Kobe was like in the huddle during timeouts.

“I don’t know,” Bynum said with his characteristic cavalier attitude. “I don’t take part in the huddles.”

Another perplexed reporter asked why not.

“I’m resting,” Bynum said. (Presumably while wearing a satin bathrobe as a Cuban cigar burned from the side of his mouth) “Getting my Zen on.”

Friday’s ejection in a loss to the Houston Rockets was only the latest example. After scoring on a turnaround hook shot with 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter to bring the Lakers within one, Bynum earned his second technical foul after taunting the Rockets bench. It was his second ejection in ten games against Houston.

After the loss, Bynum continued his no apologies tour.

“I made a shot and I felt like telling them about it,” Bynum said.

Bynum also lamented his need to find peace within his rage.

When Kobe Bryant was Bynum’s age, he forced the Lakers to trade 32-year old Shaquille O’Neal. It may be part of the reason Bryant has been careful to side with Bynum after his benching by Brown for shooting an extremely ill advised three pointer against Golden State.

However, Bynum appears to be competing with Howard in an effort to establish a reputation as the most childish personality in the league.

For much of the season, the Lakers considered upgrading their center position by swapping Bynum for Howard. However, that will probably never happen for a number of reasons. After Howard opted into the final season of his contract, it now means that Bynum and Howard will be free agents in 2013. Secondly, Howard doesn’t appear to have any interest in playing alongside Bryant in Los Angeles or following in O’Neal’s footsteps.

Thirdly, Bynum might be an even bigger headache. Throughout all of Howard’s ploys to force a trade from Orlando, he rarely allowed the distractions to interfere with the interaction between himself and his teammates.

Conversely, Bynum was visibly laughing at teammate Pau Gasol after watching him get posterized by Blake Griffin. At least Howard reserves his mockery for his disrespectful attitude towards Stan Van Gundy.

The Magic seem to believe that giving in to Howard’s hostage demands and making him their de-facto general manager will convince Howard to return but they’re dead wrong. Howard wants no part of Orlando. However, opting into his contract gives him another year to negotiate a trade while still making the max.

About 15 years ago, Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum recalled that ‘on more than one occasion during O’Neal’s rookie season of 1992–93, he overheard O’Neal say of his then coach, “We’ve got to get Matty [Guokas] out of here and bring in Brian [Hill].”

After Hill led the Magic to their first NBA Finals, O’Neal left for Los Angeles in free agency.

Following O’Neal’s departure Penny Hardaway pushed for the Magic to fire Hill. McCallum described it as children running the day care center as opposed to inmates running the asylum. The situation was similar to the day care mutinies that Howard and Bynum are attempting to orchestrate. They never work out. In Bynum’s situation, Kobe Bryant is the adult keeping the playpen locked. Eight years ago, Kobe wanted Phil Jackson out as head coach. Within a year he was pleading for Jackson’s return.

Kobe has to remain vigilant before Bynum gets too big for his britches.

Howard is already too big for his. If the Magic were smart, they’d be wise to move him on out their house before he leaves them high and dry.