Michael Jordan is widely viewed as the greatest player in NBA history. However, Shaquille O’Neal is probably the most dominant player of all time. The Diesel was so big and strong that he only needed one or two dribbles to back his defenders down in the post and dunk the ball.
Two-time All-Defensive player Charles Oakley was a rugged defender during his prime. He never backed down from anyone and routinely gave All-Star centers problems. However, even Oakley had to admit that O’Neal was a force of nature.
Charles Oakley: Shaquille O’Neal was tough
Oakley told Jack Green of Betway Insider that O’Neal was the toughest player he ever guarded during his NBA career. Although Shaq never dunked on him, the Oak Tree still gave the four-time champion his flowers. The Ohio native also mentioned three other Hall of Famers who were difficult to guard.
“Shaq was tough,” Oakley said. “He was just big, and the one thing he liked to do was dunk on you. He never dunked on me, but he was a force, though. I give him credit. Skill-wise, Kevin McHale in the post, Tim Duncan. Karl Malone, but he just flopped too much for me.”
O’Neal and Oakley faced each other 25 times during their careers. Not only did the Big Aristotle go 14-11 against Oak, but he also put up spectacular numbers.
Shaquille O’Neal averaged 25.8 points and 11.7 rebounds against Charles Oakley
O’Neal averaged 25.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 25 games versus Oakley while shooting 53.0% from the field. The two big men got into several scuffles, and it made for good TV.
Oakley put up 9.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game against O’Neal. The one-time All-Star is one of the strongest players in NBA history. However, it took an entire team to stop O’Neal, who led the league in field goal percentage 10 times and won two scoring titles.
While Oakley had a productive NBA career that lasted 19 years, he wasn’t half the player O’Neal was. That’s not an insult either since Shaq Daddy is a Hall of Famer and one of the best players ever to play.
Shaq was one of a kind
We may never see another player like O’Neal again. Despite being 7-foot-1 and over 300 pounds, the LSU product could easily run up and down the floor and attack defenders with countless moves in the post. O’Neal averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds during his legendary career. He won four championships, three Finals MVPs, and one regular-season MVP.
A 15-time All-Star, O’Neal is 10th in NBA history in points, fourth in player efficiency rating, and eighth in field goal percentage. He was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team and will always be mentioned whenever NBA legends are discussed.
Oakley was fortunate enough to play with Jordan on the Chicago Bulls and Patrick Ewing on the New York Knicks. Unfortunately, he never won a championship, but he did make millions of dollars and develop lifelong relationships.