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Watch: "I'm sorry big fella, I apologize!" - Tracy McGrady plays back iconic moment vs Shaquille O'Neal blocking the latter's hook shot in 1999

One of Tracy McGrady's career highlight reel was a resounding block of Shaquille O'Neal's shot. [Photo: Sky Sports]
One of Tracy McGrady's career highlight reel was a resounding block of Shaquille O'Neal's shot. [Photo: Sky Sports]

Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson joined the Verzuz celebrity face-off as the NBA braces for the All-Star Weekend.

The superstar duel was between AI and T-Mac, with the two legendary players showing off their most memorable highlight reels. While both scoring machines expectedly brought their offensive crowning moments, Tracy McGrady pulled a surprise by adding a defensive play to his resume.

McGrady, who led the NBA in scoring in back-to-back seasons, wasn't expected to put up any defensive displays. The out-of-the-blue highlight was even more relevant as Shaquille O'Neal, who co-hosted the show, was, unfortunately, part of T-Mac’s incredible defensive play.

The memorable play showed the then-20-year-old McGrady skying high to demolish Shaq’s baby skyhook. McGrady said as the video played in the background:

“I had to put this on there. I'm sorry big fella, I apologize!”

O'Neal hilariously and almost expectedly would have none of it:

“That was a goaltending.”
"That was goaltending"T-Mac played his block on @Shaq and Shaq wasn't having it 😂 https://t.co/raYLF7wI9v

The matchup took place on November 21, 1999, when the upstart Toronto Raptors, led by Vince Carter and McGrady, battled Shaquille O'Neal's LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant was sidelined for the game due to an injury, so it was the “Big Diesel” who carried the scoring burden.

McGrady’s forceful block on Shaq's familiar baby hook happened at the start of the fourth quarter in a very close game. The man-mountain center posted eye-popping numbers of 37 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He could have had two more points had it not been for T-Mac’s highlight reel.

McGrady’s impact that night was felt on both ends of the floor. Coming off the bench, he ended up with 12 points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals and the resounding stuffing of O’Neal’s shot.


Shaquille O'Neal as the “Commissioner” for Verzuz’s NBA All-Star celebration

Shaquille O'Neal is the Commissioner in the Verzuz face-off between Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. [Photo: CNBC]
Shaquille O'Neal is the Commissioner in the Verzuz face-off between Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. [Photo: CNBC]

No former NBA player is as charismatic and as likable as Shaquille O'Neal, the LA Lakers' iconic big man. With a long history of playing in the NBA All-Star Games, Shaq's task was to be the commissioner in the featured Allen Iverson versus Tracy McGrady highlights battle.

The four-time champion oozed inimitable charm and adept hosting skills that allowed AI and T-Mac to get into their element. Both players showcased their highlights first before unveiling their iconic NBA moments.

🚨 A.I. vs. T-MAC VERZUZ BATTLE STARTS NOW The B/R x @verzuzonline Highlight Battle by @ATT 5G is going down RIGHT NOW. Tap in to the B/R app 📲 br.app.link/U4QaqkRfJnb https://t.co/bFzwXNqfdK

Iverson’s iconic play was his step-over against now LA Clippers head coach and Shaq's former teammate, Tyronn Lue. The play happened in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals when Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers ruined the LA Lakers’ 16-0 postseason quest. O’Neal and the Hollywood squad bounced back to sweep the next four games.

Tracy McGrady came up with 13 points in 35 seconds against the San Antonio Spurs as his beloved highlight. T-Mac, who teamed up with Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets, stunned their interstate rivals with a McGrady explosion.

McGrady and Iverson were the contestants, but O’Neal’s presence and remarks were just as loud and crucial in the friendly competition.

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Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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