Shaquille O’Neal Shares a Stunning Truth About Playing in the NBA Finals
Shaquille O’Neal established himself as one of the NBA’s greatest players behind his dominance in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. O’Neal and Kobe Bryant guided the franchise to three NBA titles, where the star big man convincingly dominated the opponents. Nearly two decades after one of his stellar Finals performances, he shared a surprising detail.
Shaquille O’Neal anchored the Lakers’ championship success
O’Neal spent his most productive seasons with the Lakers, leading the franchise to championship success alongside Kobe Bryant.
The two became the league’s most dynamic duo, pushing Los Angeles to three NBA titles in four Finals appearances. Meanwhile, O’Neal’s dominance established him as one of the greatest big men.
The eight-year stint with the Lakers featured winning three NBA titles and three NBA Finals MVP awards, winning a regular-season MVP award, and receiving seven All-Star game selections and five All-NBA First Team nods.
O’Neal saved his best for the grandest stage as he served as the guiding force in the three NBA championships. In 30 Finals games, he averaged 28.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks while shooting 60.2% from the floor.
Nearly two decades after one of his dominating Finals performances, he made a surprising admission.
Shaquille O’Neal shares a stunning truth about playing in the NBA Finals
O’Neal was the anchor to the Lakers’ championship three-peat alongside Bryant.
The star big man was an unstoppable offensive force in the three NBA Finals as no team possessed a feasible option to slow him down. That was certainly the case in the 2002 Finals as he torched the then-New Jersey Nets in the four-game sweep.
O’Neal dominated the Nets, averaging 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks while shooting 59.5% from the floor. He led the Lakers in scoring in each contest while notching north of 30 points in all four games.
Nearly two decades after the convincing NBA Finals performance, the Hall of Famer revealed the lopsided games made him bored.
“It was boring,” O’Neal remarked via Brandon Robinson of Scoop B Radio. “I actually got mad when we were playing in Jersey. You think Todd McCulloch is going to stop me at the crib in Jersey in front of my grandma and grandpa?….Sheeeeeit! No. Stop it.”
The former Lakers star simply had his way with Nets big man Todd McColloch. The Canadian native struggled in his limited action averaging 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per contest. Beyond that, the Nets didn’t possess the size to defend O’Neal effectively.
It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that he grew bored with the matchup. O’Neal knew the Nets couldn’t stop him, and the lack of a physical challenge in the paint made it too easy.
At the time, the Lakers star was the league’s most dominant big man with no equal due to his sheer size and strength. Ultimately, the Nets nor any other team possessed an answer to stop him.
NBA legacy remains strong
O’Neal played nearly two decades, where he firmly cemented himself as one of the game’s greatest players.
During his prime, he became an unstoppable force on both ends of the floor behind his size, strength, and skill set in the low post. O’Neal had no equal during his best seasons, where he was the epitome of domination. His 19 seasons saw him reach tremendous heights while his impact on the game remains everlasting strong.
Beyond that, there may never be another physically imposing player like O’Neal to grace the NBA hardwood again.
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