Shaquille O’Neal made his presence known in the league and became one of the best centers to ever play in the NBA. The Hall of Fame member played for 19 seasons, winning multiple awards and championships.
He also knew how to throw the ball down. With his size and built, it was tough for defenders to guard him, especially in the paint. When O’Neal dunked, it was with authority. One time early in his career, he dunked so hard that he broke the entire backboard.
When Shaq brought down the rim, literally
Let’s take it back to O’Neal’s rookie season with the Orlando Magic during the 1992-93 season. He immediately was a top player in the league as a rookie. He won the Rookie of the Year award and was named to the NBA All-Star team.
During a regular-season game on April 23, 1993, against the New Jersey Nets, O’Neal did something that most people have never seen done in a game before. A young O’Neal got the ball in the paint, made one dribble and threw it down. Oh, not to mention he brought the backboard down with him.
After that dunk, O’Neal calmly walks off the court as if nothing happened, while a dismantled rim is lying on the ground. The game was delayed for a period of time as crews had to end up bring a new rim out. What O’Neal did that game was remarkable. You have a young rookie doing that already? That’s just not normal.
Shaq’s dunk was the talk of the game
O’Neal’s dunk sent the fans and the players into a frenzy. While the game resumed after, people were still thinking about how someone could have the power to bring down an entire rim and break the backboard.
The Magic would win the game, and O’Neal would only finish with 10 points, five rebounds, and five blocks, but he had the play of the not hands down. His dunk took everyone away from the fact that Nick Anderson had one of the best games in his career.
Anderson came off the bench during that game for the Magic and finished with 50 points shooting 17-25 from the field. Anderson’s performance is what helped lead the Magic to a win. With a performance like that, it’s hard for people to forget about, but when you have O’Neal breaking backboards and stopping games as a rookie, that’s not easy to forget.
Shaq’s impressive rookie season
O’Neal continued to have success as a rookie in the NBA. At that time, he was just getting into the flow of the NBA games, and he was adjusting well. After staring and playing in all 81 games in his rookie season, he finished averaging 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game.
Not bad for a young up and coming Rookie.
Not too long after his rookie season, O’Neal would become a fan favorite and one of the most talked-about players in the league. There were no other big men that could do the things O’Neal could do.