Shaquille O’Neal is never one to shy away from self-promotion. The Lakers legend shared a graphic of his incredible stats on Instagram.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a center winning MVP. Now that Nikola Jokic is all but a shoo-in to win his first, Shaq’s dominant 1999-00 campaign is coming to the fore.
Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid have both brought their own stylistic variations to the center position. The Serbian big man is a true point center, hitherto unseen in NBA history.
Embiid, on the other hand, is a 7-foot monster who can lock the paint down and score on any defender in the world from any range. Go figure. And yet, having watched Shaq, one thing is clear – these guys ain’t making their opponents look like rec league veterans.
Throughout NBA history, few players have morphed opposition teams’ tactics the way Shaquille O’Neal did at his peak. There was a time when teams would sign or draft an unathletic 7-footer just to matchup with Shaq.
There’d only be one sure way to limit his impact, but it was a costly one. Hack-a-Shaq, as they called it, was a tactic popularized by Greg Popovich and his Spurs.
The crazy stats last achieved by Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is the last center to have won a Finals MVP, regular season MVP, and a scoring title. He achieved all 3 of these feats in his historic 1999-2000 season. And that’s not even all that he achieved that year.
The Big Aristotle also notched up an All-Star Game MVP that year along with Tim Duncan. But most notably, he’s the last center to score 60 points in an NBA game. His barely-believable 61 point, 23 rebound statline came in a March outing at the newly-inaugurated Staples Center against the Clippers.
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Shaq may have done quite a bit of damage to his perception in his decade since retirement. That won’t change the fact, however, that he’s the most dominant center in Lakers history. In fact, a lot of people would happily give him the title of ‘Most Dominant Ever’, except for one Wilt Chamberlain.