Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the most dominant center to ever play the game. During his time in the league, he dominated on both ends of the court. The way he could move with his height and size was unreal. In his 19 years playing in the NBA, O’Neal had many highlights, especially with his dunks.
One dunk that people tend to remember is the one on former NBA player Chris Dudley. After the dunk, Dudley did not take the dunk too lightly as he threw the ball at O’Neal, resulting in him being ejected. That dunk is still a hot commodity 21 years later.
How the dunk happened
On March 28, 1999, the Los Angeles Lakers were playing the New York Knicks. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers had the lead and had the ball on offense. Kobe Bryant passed the ball to O’Neal, who was on the block, and Dudley was defending him. When O’Neal got the ball, he was able to back Dudley down and finished with a dunk over him. After the dunk, O’Neal pushed Dudley off of him, and that’s when Dudley launched the ball at O’Neal.
That dunk immediately ignited O’Neal’s teammates as well as the fans. Dudley had no chance against O’Neal on that possession, and after that dunk, he would eventually become famous after that play, for years to come. The Lakers went on to win that game 99-91, but everyone was talking about that monstrous dunk by O’Neal. Chris Dudley was a big guy too. At 6’11 236 pounds, Dudley had a significant presence on the court. But that did not stop one of the best big men in the history of the game from doing what he did.
In response to O’Neal pushing Dudley, O’Neal said, “He just grabbed me, he was under me, I had to get him off me.” O’Neal was fined $3,500 for the push on to Dudley.
O’Neal and Dudley had a past
What some people may not know is that both players have a little bit of history. During the 1997 playoff series between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, Dudley was complaining about how O’Neal was getting his way on the offensive end. In game three, Dudley committed a flagrant foul on O’Neal.
Most of the Lakers team thought it was a dirty play. Former teammate Eddie Jones called that play “a cheap shot.” A few years later, O’Neal got his revenge on Dudley with that dunk.
One of the best dunks in NBA history
O’Neal’s dunk over Dudley is still being talked about all over social media to this day. O’Neal cemented himself as one of the best players in the game, and he has many highlight videos that feature his top plays and performances.
Dudley may have never got the exposure he has gained over the past few years if this dunk never occurred on him over twenty years ago. He will always be connected with O’Neal from the poster he did on him. A dunk like that does not come too often.