Penny Hardaway believes that Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal and himself could have won at least 1 or 2 championships if only the big man stayed in Orlando.
Former Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal had a pretty legendary career. Playing nearly 2 decades of basketball, Shaq dominated the paint on both sides of the court, night in and night out. His impressive resume reveals to us why Shaq is considered to be one of the greatest centres in NBA history.
The 7-foot-1 inch beast found most of his success teaming up with the great Kobe Bryant at Los Angeles Lakers. Although, Shaq’s former teammate Penny Hardaway believes that he and Shaq could’ve had the same success that the Lakers duo had.
On the show “UNDISPUTED”, Anfernee assured how if Shaq never left Orlando, the two of them could have a minimum of 1-2 championships. He said:
“Kobe, an unbelievable warrior, tested for greatness. Great player, up there as a GOAT as far as I am concerned. But yeah, if I would’ve stayed here, if Shaq would’ve stayed in Orlando, we would’ve at least had 1-2 championships.”
.@ShannonSharpe: “Barring the injury, had you and Shaq stayed together, could you have been like Kobe & Shaq?”@Iam1Cent: “Yes for sure. We would’ve at least had 1-2 championships. I’m sure of that.” pic.twitter.com/FsAa1PvCsw
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 1, 2021
“Penny Hardaway was like Kobe before Kobe”: Shaquille O’Neal
Both, Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway had a pretty great stint together at Orlando. Despite reaching an NBA Finals together, knocking Jordan’s Bulls to reach there, Shaq and Penny’s partnership didn’t last for very long.
Previously, O’Neal has also said he could’ve had a ring or two if he continued to play with the Magic. What is more stunning is that Shaq gave Hardaway some big praises by calling him “Kobe before Kobe”. He explained:
“All I was thinking was [we were] the new Magic [Johnson] and the new Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. When we played together it was awesome. He was Kobe before Kobe. So I think if we had stayed together we definitely would have gotten one. Maybe two.”
Any which ways, the decision of leaving Magic and joining Bryant at the Laker, turned out to be a great one for Shaq. He went on to win three straight titles, where he saw most of the successes of his illustrious career.
The NBA has had many “what if” moments. This is yet another one, which fans, analysts and players can speculate and think about. This particularly, is interesting to think about, whether or not the two could’ve actually won a ring together or not, and what would it have done to Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway’s legacies.