Shaquille O’Neal believed in Dwyane Wade a whole lot even after his rookie season. In his mind, the Flash was a mixture of Kobe Bryant and Penny.
Shaq put together possibly the most dominant 3-year run by a player in NBA history in Los Angeles. However, there was friction between him and Kobe Bryant after their threepeat.
A 32-year-old O’Neal could’ve pulled a power move and stayed on in Los Angeles, forcing Kobe out. But he didn’t. Instead, he got creative and got the Lakers’ front office to trade him to another team with a young, athletic guard.
The Big Aristotle was on the Knuckleheads podcast last year in one of his better, in-depth basketball-related interviews. This is how he described his trade situation to Miami:
“So at 3 (championships), I was like ‘You know, I’m good, Imma go on and just play my career out.’ And then they disrespect me again. Trade me. So I go in the office and I flex my power again. I say ‘Okay, you wanna trade me, but I’m going to Miami!'”
“Cuz I saw something in D-Wade. I saw like a mixture of Penny and Kobe, but he didn’t have no help with him. So you get me down there with him getting double- or triple-teamed and that’s going to open it up for him.”
“So that was my vision, and then I called up some of the homies. ‘Hey Pose, I need you. GP, Antoine, what’s up dawg? Yeah, yeah, they’re disrespecting us.’ So it was a bunch of old ‘has-beens’ that we had put together, and that was pretty good.”
How did Shaquille O’Neal perform with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat?
Shaq was at the tail end of his prime when he moved to South Beach, but he was still an MVP-level talent. He proved this in his very first season with the Heat, narrowly finishing 2nd to Steve Nash in the MVP race.
O’Neal’s Heat were taken to 7 games by the reigning champion Detroit Pistons, who beat them and went 7 games in the NBA Finals against the Spurs in 2005. But the Heat got their revenge the following year in the Conference Finals.
But by that point, O’Neal had ceded control of the offense to the All-NBA talent beside him in D-Wade. And it worked amazingly well as Wade led the Heat to an amazing comeback win in the 2006 NBA Finals after they fell to a 2-0 deficit.
O’Neal would play in Miami one more year before the injury-ravaged, ageing squad was broken up by Pat Riley. He played out the rest of his career in Phoenix, Cleveland and Boston before retiring in 2011.