City Sports Report

Daily Debate:  Where Does Shaq Rank Among the Greats?

Shaquille O'Neal Doing What He Did Best: Score

Shaquille O'Neal Doing What He Did Best: Score

Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement yesterday after one of the greatest careers in NBA History.  Where does he rank among the greatest players in NBA History?
He finishes his career with four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, one regular season MVP, three all-star game MVPs, and 15 all-star game selections, second all time to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
O’Neal retires fifth all-time with 28,596 points, fourth all-time with 5,250 postseason points, 12th with 13,099 rebounds, and finished his career with a .582 field goal percentage.  O’Neal played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.


  1. Joe Roberts, Jr.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I am content to put him top 4, along with Wilt, Russell and Kareem. There are too many variables to say who is the best. As a basketball fan I applaud the level of skill that Shaq has demonstrated through the years.

    Hearing him say that he will shortly have a doctorate degree is probably as important as the contribution he has made on the court. Hopefully this will inspire future ballplayers to recognize the importance of education to their post-basketball lives. Best wishes Shaq.

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      Great post Joe, and I agree with the sentiments about what he is doing off the court being just as important. Dr. Shaq has a nice ring to it. I would add Hakeem to that list, but we discussed that already and you agree

  2. Al

    June 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I raise my glass to Joe’s comments ! Shaq is an all-time top 4 center.

  3. jamaal St.John

    June 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Shaq would have to be considered the 4th best center of all-time. Bill Russell is #1, followed by Kareem Abdul Jabar #2, and Wilt Chamberlain #3. Shaq would be #4 followed by Hakeem Olajuwon at #5, David Robinson #6, and Patrick Ewing #7.

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      I would put Hakeem over Shaq, because, in their prime, Hakeem was better in my opinion. I think more people have Shaq over Hakeem, but there are some knowledgeable people of the same opinion as me.

  4. Matt

    June 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Shaq is #5 on my list.

    1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Leading scorer in NBA history. 6 rings. The most unstoppable shot (Sky Hook) in league history. Let’s not even include his college and HS career.

    2. Wilt Chamberlain
    Averaged 50 points and 24 rebounds a game in 3 years. The original Shaq. Unstoppable inside and lead the league in rebounds and assists. Wilt basically played his whole career with no help or other all stars. Anyone who scores 100 points in one gave and averages 50 points in one season and 45 in another with over 20 rebounds gets 2nd.

    3. Bill Russell
    Mr. Defense. Gets nod at #3 over Hakeem because of the 11 rings. Yet 11 rings were with 6-7 Hall of Famers on his team. Comes in 3rd behind Wilt because head to head Wilt dominated Russell. Wilt averaged 29 points and 24 rebounds a game against Russell where Russell averaged 14 points and 18 rebounds. The 11 titkes is what even gets him in the top 5.

    4. Hakeem Olajuwon
    The best defensive center ever in my opinion. Plus averaged 25 points a game. Quick and a great rebounder. Gets nod over Shaq because he shot 77% from free throw line while shaq only shot 44%.

    5. Shaquille O’Neal
    Would love to have seen him play against Kareem and Wilt on a regular. Seemed to me to be a little lazy at times and not a fierce rebounder. Yet, he is in the top 5.

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      GREAT post Matt, I’m with you on four and five, and, honestly, having not seen Kareem in his prime, and Wilt and Bill at all, I can just put them there, but can’t really say where.

  5. B. Browne

    June 3, 2011 at 8:58 am

    For my definition, they need to meet 2 of the 3.. (1)changed the game,,, (2)at times unstoppable,,, (3)made others around them better
    Chamberlin (several rule changes put in place just so others could hang with him), Russell (more rings than fingers to put them on), Oscar Robinson (avg a triple double), Jordan(3peat -retires- then 3peats again), Magic (6’9′ point guard), Kareem (the sky hook), Bird(slowest, non jumping, unstoppable player), Shaq (whatever team he played on instantly became a contender), Dr J (ABA & NBA), Olajuwan (Most athletic big man to play the game + won his rings wo another superstar)

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      Great list Brian. I don’t see Kobe on your list, does he not belong there in your opinion? Duncan, Kobe, and Shaq, all linked, the question of who is better is a great debate.

      • B. Browne

        June 8, 2011 at 7:02 am

        Kobe & Duncan are still active. It gets real hard when they retire!!!!! Not sure who to X out …..

  6. Matty Z

    June 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Shaq is one of the best centers of the era in which he played in as well as a personality that impacted not only the NBA but sports as a whole in his friendly, goofy, immature, fun demeanor.

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      Matty, great point about his personality. I only got a chance to speak to Shaq once, in the preseason, but it was one of the most entertaining times of the entire season. He is such a comedian

  7. Devin P

    June 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    If you go by best game changer he is 2nd to Wilt. Russell (diehard Celtics fan) was a great defender and rebounder but not a scoring threat. Hakeem, Ewing and Robinson were great without the forceful presence of Shaq and Wilt. Kareem was great don’t get me wrong but Shaq tried to sick around and steal a few titles like Kareem did surrounded by the likes of Magic, Worthy and etc. Shaq may have stayed in the game too long thinking he was Parrish instead of seeing like Hakeem (Raptors) or Ewing (Sonics, Magic) realizing it’s over for them.

    1. Wilt (if you can name one of his teammates I’ll change him to 2)
    2. Kareem (Yea he deserves a statue and don’t forget to have it with the skyhook and goggles)
    3. Shaq (Only guy to get fouled 7 times on one possession and still not get the call)
    4. Hakeem (Dream shake, block shots, and jumper from the elbow)
    5. Russell (The trophy isn’t name after him for nothing)
    6. Robinson (Double Double type guy could have stole another title with Duncan)
    7. Ewing (How you miss that layup)
    8. Moses (3 time MVP)
    9. Parrish (the longevity)
    10. Reed (damn another knick)

    • Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

      June 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Interesting that you have Russell fifth. Chris B from ESPN had a list similar to yours. To defend Kareem, he averaged 17.5 and 14.6 points in those last two championship years, so he was either a second or a third scoring option. Not bad at all.

  8. Scott

    July 8, 2011 at 7:28 am

    The records don’t lie in da NBA Archives —> Hakeem has More rebounds, more steals, more blocked, more assists, slightly lesser points than Sha1

    Offensively Hakeem = Shaq
    Defensivley Hakeem >> Shaq

    PLUS with Ex-players ranking Hakeem ahead Shaq
    Midheal Jordan, Robert Horry, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul Jabbar etc etc etc
    I know who i have to lean towards as the better player.

    CONCLUSION: Sentiments aside, Hakeem >>> Shaq

    Plus Hakeem dusted shaq in rebounds, steals, blocked shots and assists. So it is a no brainer

    1. Wilt
    2. Kareem
    3. Hakeem
    4. Russell
    5. Shaq

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