Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan hold a very important place in Basketball history. The duo have excelled at the highest level and have been able to change basketball history at different times in their career.
The duo would have learned innumerable things during their careers as top basketball players, but for Shaq, his most important learning came from Michael Jordan, and it happened in their first ever meeting.
Shaq recently spoke about that moment during an interview with NBA TV, highlighting how Michael Jordan played a very important role in his NBA initiation.
Shaq had been drafted in by Orlando Magic, as the number 1 overall pick and was in his rookie season.
On This Date: In 1993, Michael Jordan and Shaq gave us an all-timer 🍿 pic.twitter.com/4Umcoyx7nG
— ESPN (@espn) January 16, 2019
On this day in 1993, Michael Jordan and Shaq squared off for the first time
64 PTS (55% FG) | 6 REB | 5 STL
29 PTS (61% FG) | 24 REB | 5 BLK
Magic 128 – Bulls 124 pic.twitter.com/ZsG0LZinCT
— Sports ReUp (@SportsReUp) January 16, 2019
The Bulls were scheduled to play Orlando and Shaq was nervous about his first on-court meeting with Jordan.
Jordan was in the prime of his career(or so we thought) during that 92-93 season and he was going to up against one of the future greats of the game.
Shaq told NBA TV how he had prepared for the Jordan show down, but was largely content that he did not have to necessarily guard Jordan.
“Before the game, I was terrified,” Shaq said.
“But to relieve the pressure of that, I thought, ‘I ain’t gotta guard him. I’m not worried.’
“The second thing I said to myself was, ‘I can’t let him dunk on me. That’s not gonna happen.'”
Jordan dropped 64 points that night, but the Bulls lost to Magic 128-124 after OT.
Jordan had gone in for a massive dunk from the baseline during the game when Shaq fouled him, with Jordan falling to the floor.
“I had to touch him up,” Shaq said of the foul.
“I’m not getting dunked on, because I’ll never live that down from family members, homeboys and barber shops. That would have been a poster forever, because Mike was the man at the time.” he added.
And that is when the ‘Jordan lesson’ came through for Shaq.
“But Mike also taught me something very valuable,” Shaq said
“So when I go to help him up, he said, ‘Don’t ever help anyone up. Don’t do that. Great foul. I don’t need your help, but I’m coming back. Don’t you worry.'” he added.
Check out the video:
— D'Go (@RANBOY_D_Go) January 18, 2019
— Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) January 16, 2019
Shaq actually managed to dish out 29 points and 24 rebounds in his first ever on-court meeting against Jordan.
Shaq was amazed by that little lesson given to him by Jordan and treasured it all through his career, a lesson that toughened him up on court and never let any player dominate him through and through.