Shaquille O’Neal reveals he would’ve won one championship with LeBron James at the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 if only he was fully healthy.
LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal are two of the greatest athletes we’ve ever seen. Being dominant players, both these legends have absolutely transformed the way basketball is perceived. And many might forget that these two revolutionary players were once on the same team together.
Back in 2009-2010, Shaq and Bron shared the same locker room at the Cleveland Cavaliers. A 24-year-old King James coming off an MVP year, leading his inexperienced team to the Conference Finals, had been given the key addition of a dominant yet ageing O’Neal by the front office in a blockbuster trade deal.
Many fans and analysts were right in believing the Cavs would be winning it all that season. However, much to everyone’s surprise, King James and co. lost to Boston in the second round of the postseason.
A huge reason for not winning the title was the gruesome injury Shaq suffered during the regular season. During the Boston-Cleveland clash, Celtics’ center Glen Davis and O’Neal were battling for the ball, which ended up with the Cavs star injured with a torn ligament in his thumb. Because of which the big man had to sit out 4-5 weeks, and directly took on the court during the postseason.
“If I was fully healthy, LeBron James and I would’ve won the 2010 NBA championship”: Shaquille O’Neal
To date, Shaquille believes the Cavs would’ve won the 2010 finals, if not for the thumb injury he sustained. Back in 2016, the 4-time champ told Yahoo Sports:
“When I was in Cleveland, we were in first place. Big Baby [Glen Davis] breaks my hand and I had to sit out five weeks late in the year. I come back finally in the first round of the playoffs, and we lost to Boston in the second round, I was upset. I know for a fact if I was healthy, we would have gotten it done that year and won a ring.”
He recently spoke about the topic again and stood by what he had initially claimed.
“We were No. 1; everything was good. I knew my role: just to back [LeBron] up. If he looks to me, I score. If not, set picks, get him open, rebound, knock other players on their ass. I knew my role. We were in first. We were playing against Boston, and Big Baby (Glen Davis), who could never stop me, did hack-a-Shaq. And as soon as I grabbed the ball, I couldn’t feel my thumb; I had that injury before; I knew my hand was broke.”
Even though he kept in shape, it wasn’t enough to help the Cavs get past Boston in the second round.
“So, now when your hand is broke, you’re out four weeks; there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “Did cardio, I ate right, I went to the gym … I was there every night, running the treadmill. And then when I came back to play, I’m like, ‘I’m in people shape, but I’m not in basketball shape,’ and we could just never get it going again.”
Sure, Shaq wasn’t in his prime. But undoubtedly, the series would’ve been more competitive if O’Neal was healthy.