Over his career, O’Neal won championships and had multiple stops across the country with different teams. Today we will look at all the teams the Big Aristotle played for and decide which one was the best for his career.
Shaquille O’Neal left off the Dream Team?
After getting drafted with the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, NBA fans thought it was a lock that Shaquille O’Neal would make the 1992 Olympic Men’s Basketball team, also known as The “Dream Team.” However, instead of going with O’Neal Team USA selected Christian Laettner out of Duke.
This wasn’t a major snub, as Laettner was one of college basketball’s most decorated players, but Shaquille O’Neal probably would have seen more playing time on the way to the gold medal.
Time in Orlando
When Shaq got to Orlando he quickly became a human highlight reel. He won the 1993 Rookie of the Year award after averaging 23 points, 14 rebounds, and nearly 4 blocks per game. The following season the Magic would draft Penny Hardaway, and the two would form a tandem in the East that was hard to stop.
The Magic went to the NBA Finals in O’Neal’s third season. However, they ultimately fell short to the Houston Rockets. Shaq would play one more season in Orlando before shocking the team and leaving for the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency at the age of 23.
Shaquille O’Neal going to Los Angeles
After teaming up with Kobe Bryant in L.A., the team quickly became a dominant force in the Western Conference. The Lakers would pull off a three-peat with Shaq and Kobe, winning championships over the Pacers, Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers from 2000-02.
Shaq spent two more seasons in L.A. before being traded to the Miami Heat.
Winning a title with D-Wade
Although he was over 30 years old, Shaquille O’Neal was still one of the game’s best centers. Teaming up with another great shooting guard in Dwyane Wade, O’Neal helped the Heat win their first championship in 2006, while average 18 points and 10 rebounds per game during the playoff run. During his brief stint in Miami, the Heat made the playoffs all three seasons he was with the team.
Other stops along the way
After getting traded by Miami, Shaq found his way to Phoenix, spending one and a half seasons with the Suns. He was clearly on the decline, but he still helped the team make the playoffs in his first season, averaging 15 points and nine rebounds per game in a first-round series loss.
He would average 17 points and eight rebounds in his second season with the team, earning his final All-Star birth.
After leaving the Suns O’Neal had brief stints in Cleveland and Boston, before retiring in 2011. That took the total number of teams that Shaq played for to six.
What’s the best team Shaquille O’Neal played for?
For his career, O’Neal averaged nearly 24 points and 11 rebounds per game. We think the 2000 NBA MVP was at his best during his eight seasons with the Lakers, where he averaged 27 points and pulled down 11 boards per game, while winning three NBA championships.