Michael Jordan has made himself out to be the biggest, baddest wolf, but even he couldn’t help but marvel at Shaquille O’Neal’s incredible size.
The Chicago Bulls legend wasn’t afraid of anyone in the NBA. He quickly assumed his role as the alpha-dog of the league, and he stuck to it like glue.
Trash talking and showing off his competitivness just became who MJ was, you couldn’t separate the two. It was his identity and his style of play definitely mirrored that same mindset.
— Onion Sports Network (@OnionSports) April 17, 2018
However, even he couldn’t help but feel a little startled when he met Orlando Magic big man Shaquille O’Neal for the first time.
Shaquille O’Neal Had Michael Jordan Shook By His Size
In case you haven’t noticed it, Shaq is a big man. He stands at 7’1″ and weighs in at 325 pounds. That’s absolutely huge. His size was a big reason why he dominated the NBA the way he did.
Of course, size isn’t everything, and Shaq showed that by combining his massive frame with incredible footwork and a great variety of moves in the post to firmly establish himself as the best center in the league during his prime.
This is hands down the most disrespectful dunk in my opinion. pic.twitter.com/vhCkEpW43R
— The Pettiest Laker Fan 🤫 (@ThePettiestLA) August 23, 2021
However, his size definitely helped, and not only to posterize people but also as an intimidation tool. In 1997, Jordan talked to SLAM magazine that his first impression of Shaq was that he was just a gigantic beast, something he couldn’t even process properly. Jordan said:
“[When was the last time] that I was intimidated in basketball? When I first saw Shaquille. How big he is. I mean, that was a short intimidation factor, but [laughs] I just couldn’t fathom how big he was.”
Shaq is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite answer when it comes to picking the one NBA player who intimidated them. Scottie Pippen had the exact same answer as well, showing how Shaq had the attention of the two best players on the most dominant team in the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls.