Shaquille O’Neal strung together an impressive NBA career that earned him the reputation as one of the greatest players. O’Neal‘s dominance on the court guided him to tremendous success and an unshakable legacy. However, there are a few regrets that he still can’t move past.
Shaquille O’Neal’s illustrious NBA career
Right from the get-go, Shaquille O’Neal quickly met the massive expectations around him when he entered the league.
O’Neal dominated the paint on both ends of the floor through his raw physical ability and skill in the low post. The imposing nature of his game helped him put together an illustrious career that earned him a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction.
O’Neal earned four NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVP awards, 15 All-Star Game selections, 14 All-NBA selections, an MVP award, two scoring titles, and three All-Defensive Team nods. He also has his jersey retired with the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic.
Despite all that, O’Neal still holds three regrets from his time on the court.
Shaquille O’Neal admits he carries only 3 regrets from his NBA career
Shaquille O’Neal holds the firm reputation as one of the league’s greatest players.
O’Neal accomplished it all on the court that went well beyond even his own expectations. However, there remain a few regrets that he holds from his time on the court.
During an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger in November 2015, O’Neal stated a few things that still stick from him that he failed to accomplish in his NBA career.
“The only three regrets I have right now are missing 5,000 free throws, not passing up Wilt Chamberlain in [career] points, and not being higher on the scoring list,” O’Neal said.” When I got really close to him, I think I needed average 10 or 12 points a game to pass him up.
“So when I had the career-ending injury, I was like ‘damn I am not going to pass Wilt.’ so those are my only three regrets playing. I got no other regrets. I got four rings when I only wanted one. I’m good.”
O’Neal finished his 19-year career seventh on the all-time scoring list (28,596), only 2,823 points behind fellow Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). It would have actually taken playing more than one entire season for him to surpass Chamberlain on the list if he averaged 10 to 12 points per game.
It was certainly in range if O’Neal didn’t suffer an Achilles injury that forced him into retirement. Regarding his missed free throws, that plagued him throughout his career, hitting 52.7% and only moved above 60%.
If he was even a respectable 70% from the free-throw line, that could have inched him past Chamberlain and possibly much higher on the all-time scoring list.
NBA legacy forever cemented
Shaquille O’Neal may have reached those personal goals in his NBA career, but it hasn’t taken away from his legacy.
During the prime of his career, O’Neal dominated the league as an unstoppable force. No player matched his physicality and strength at his position.
O’Neal was an unmatched generational talent that the NBA may never see again. O’Neal had his flaws, such as his struggles at the free-throw line, but his play helped anchor many of his teams to tremendous success.
The Lakers’ three-peat as NBA champions saw him dominate on the grandest stage to earn three NBA Finals MVP awards. O’Neal remains undoubtedly one of the greatest big men in league history but best overall talents that have taken the court.