City Sports Report

Shaq weighs in on hypothetically teaming with LeBron in prime

Even in his final season, Shaquille O'Neal was still a contributor (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

Shaquille O’Neal will go down as one of the most dominant players to ever play in the NBA.  At his peak, Shaq was an unstoppable force on the basketball court.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at some of his mind-boggling stats.  In his MVP season of 1999-2000, he led the league in scoring with 29.7 points per game, while shooting 57% from the floor.  He also averaged 13.6 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 3.8 assists.

Shaq has also played with arguably the two best players of the last decade.  When Shaq signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, he teamed with a rookie named Kobe Bryant, and played with him for eight seasons, winning three NBA Championships.

Shaq also played with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, but it was a Shaq that was in the twilight of his career, in his next-to-last season in the league.  At an NBA on TNT media event on Monday, I asked Shaq what would have happened if he were able to team with James in his prime.

“We would have definitely got the three in a row, and then we would have stayed together,” Shaq said of the fantasy situation.  “He’s the type that, he plays the way you like.  He plays too unselfish sometimes.”  Then Shaq compared LeBron’s mindset of passing the ball to a teammate not many would have guessed.

“(LeBron) reminds me of the first guy I played with, a guy named Scottie Skiles. If I did that (the ball) was there every time,” Shaq says, motioning with his hands that he is demanding the ball. “I never had to say ‘Scott you missed me’ or if Scott missed me one time, I’m getting (the ball) 10 times in a row. LeBron’s that type of player.”

Shaq seems to think that a partnership with LeBron James would have resulted in the same three championships he won with Kobe Bryant, then more, as he and LeBron would have got along.  Perhaps along with Shaq, LeBron would have been secure with the secondary role.  Unfortunately, it was the clash of egos between Shaq and Kobe, among other things that led to the end of one of the most dominant combinations ever to play in the NBA.  Shaq and LeBron could have been even more successful.

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