Shaquille O’Neal usually has a hard time admitting that someone did something better than him. But he gives credit to Derrick Coleman for his poster dunk.
According to the big man, Coleman is one of only 3 people to have ever legitimately posterized him. When he went on the Knuckleheads podcast in early January 2020, Darius Miles asked him who the first NBA player to bust his a** was. Shaq’s answer was pretty detailed:
“Well a lot of people bust my a**, but I take pride in playing 19 years and only being dunked on 3 times. So the first person to dunk on me was Derrick Coleman. Drop step with the left hand.”
“Ewing bust my a**, Robinson bust my a**, Hakeem bust my a**, all the big guys did. And then, a couple of sorry guys bust my a**. Like, I couldn’t stop Big Country (Bryant Reeves) for some reason.”
“See, I got about 30 dunk-bys. I got about 7 not-paying attention tip dunks, but dunk on chest-to-chest, balls-to-balls, I only had one or two of them and I take pride in that.”
How many centers really compare with Shaquille O’Neal all-time?
As far as NBA peaks go, Shaq’s 3-year peak with the Lakers is as good a stretch of basketball as any played by any player in league history. This man sealed 3 Finals MVP trophies, 3 First-Team selections and arguably should’ve won 3 MVP trophies instead of only 1.
There was no player who could even slow Shaq down in these 3 seasons. Once he got the ball in the post and he was less than 12 feet from the basket, the result was obvious.
Shaq Diesel would get to work, bodying his defender and moving right to the bucket. When he felt the double-team coming, Shaq had that jump hook that was practically unguardable given his wingspan and size.
Through those 3 Finals series, Shaq averaged an ungodly 35 points, 15 rebounds and 2+ blocks per game. What he did to that Nets defense in the 2002 Finals sweep is truly a sight to behold.
There are people who’re already calling Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant greater players than Shaq Diesel. These calls are highly misleading. Both of them might have a case in terms of regular season play.
But Shaq broke the league in ways that fans of the modern game just can’t fully appreciate. It’d be quite the sight, seeing championship teams like the Pistons draft Darko Milicic over proven prospects like D-Wade and Carmelo Anthony.
Teams would just load up on 7-footers in order to have a shout at keeping O’Neal at the line. Because Hack-a-Shaq was the only tactic that had a puncher’s chance of working in those years.
Prime Shaq might be the best and most effective NBA player of all time. Even above a prime first 3-peat Michael Jordan, Philly Wilt or Miami LeBron.