Shaquille O’Neal created a first-round Hall of Fame career behind his sheer dominance. His style of play was anchored by his ability to physically assert himself against opponents. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain, however, was not a fan of O’Neal’s style of play.
O’Neal quickly made himself felt behind his physical dominance in the NBA.
O’Neal dominated the league for several years behind his size, strength and prowess in the low-ranking. It helped him win four NBA titles and three NBA Finals MVP awards, earn 15 All-Star Game selections and 14 All-NBA awards, and earn a regular season MVP award. He’s also retired his jersey with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
He is still considered one of the greatest players and great men in the league. Before he started his dominant stretch, Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain O’Neal’s play verbally blown up
Before O’Neal experienced championship success with the Lakers, he quickly became one of the top big men in the league.
His dominant game in his early years earned him great praise, including being named one of the NBA’s 50 Best Players in 1996, although he was only playing in his fourth season. However, not everyone was convinced of his level of talent, as Chamberlain stated that he was not a fan of O’Neal’s style of play.
“Shaq gets away with what I think is murder,” Chamberlain said in a 1997 interview with ESPN’s Gary Miller. You know you can get away with something. Shaq is allowed to get some points that he might not get. ”
He went on to explain that former Washington Bullets Big Man Gheorghe Muresan was a better goalscorer in the suit than O’Neal.
“If you’ve made it a straightforward situation and given the same rules and regulations that you gave Shaq to Gheorghe Muresan, Muresan has better feel for the ball and can score more points,” said Chamberlain. “If the Bullets had brains enough to give him the ball 20-25 times like someone else, Muresan could get an average of 30 points per game.”
The great man of the Hall of Fame greatly admired Muresan. He came with 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds to 58.4% shot from the floor from a career record. It helped him get the Most Improved Player award. Muresan struggled to build that success, however, as its production collapsed the following season as he was eliminated from the NBA after the 1999-00 season.
O’Neal may not have had the opportunity to demonstrate his dominance over Chamberlain, but he certainly has made his way.
He had his best campaigns in his eight seasons with the Lakers. He won three NBA titles and three Finals MVP awards, received one regular season MVP award, and received seven All-Star Game selections and five All-NBA First Team Nicks. O’Neal added a fourth championship with the Miami Heat, but his legacy was set with Los Angeles.
He became the gold standard for tall men during his era behind his dominance. He is considered to be one of the game’s greatest talents that made a lasting impression. Furthermore, there will be no other player like O’Neal in NBA history.
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