Shaquille O'Neal in the Hall of Fame: 5 reasons there will never be another Shaq
The idea of Shaquille O'Neal is too immense to grasp. You can't wrap your head around it, and you would need three people holding hands to wrap their arms around him.
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Shaquille O'Neal stood 7’1” and weighed 325 pounds on his good days. That is huge beyond the concept of huge which people carry in their minds. His personality was every bit as large as the man himself. In whatever he chose to pursue or involve himself in, he made a splash as big as a whale would make upon plopping in a swimming pool.
The four time NBA Champion is unquestionably among the top ten players of all time, but it wasn't just about the numbers with Shaq. On his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, here are 5 things I'll miss about Shaq's playing days and why there will never be another like him:
#1 Unmatched statistics: The Shaqistician
Imagine a bunch of ten-year-olds playing basketball in their backyard on a nerf hoop. Now put a grown man without a conscience in their midst and watch the carnage ensue.
Throughout his career, Shaq averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. But those numbers don't reflect the dominance of his prime, as they are diluted by his stops in Miami/Phoenix/Cleveland/Boston.
Shaq's most dominant stretches were with the Los Angles Lakers and the Orlando Magic. In his 4 seasons with the Magic, he averaged 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 58.1 % from the field. Keep in mind that this was during an era of strong centers in the NBA.
In Orlando, Shaq was coming into his own and getting a feel for the NBA game. However, he was able to unleash his true potential under the tutelage of Phil Jackson and with Kobe Bryant helping provide one of the most effective one-two punches of all time.
In his 8 seasons with the Lakers, Shaq averaged he averaged 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 57.5% from the field. But the best prism to view Shaq's statistical dominance would be the big stage of the NBA Finals with the Lakers.
In 2000, going up against Indiana Pacers, Shaq averaged 38 points and 16.7 rebounds while shooting 61.1% from the field. How in the world are you supposed to eke out a victory when facing such a colossus?
Next year against the Philadelphia 76ers, Shaq put up 33 points and 15.8 rebounds per game. He faced the then reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Dikembe Mutumbo and averaged 3 points fewer than his previous NBA Finals.
The following year, Shaq annihilated the New Jersey Nets in 2002 NBA Finals by averaging 36.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. In all three series, Shaq won the NBA Finals MVP honors, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.