LA Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal was one of the NBA’s most physically dominant centers ever. It wasn’t hard to find Shaq. He used his combination of size and strength to overpower opponents. While the NBA has seen its share of superstar big men, O’Neal gave opposing teams nightmares with his dominance in the paint.
After taking the league by storm with the Orlando Magic, O’Neal began to truly dominate the league with the Lakers. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Shaq was backing defenders down and putting up monstrous slams that had fans in pure disbelief.
On The Ringer’s “Book of Basketball 2.0” podcast, former NBA veteran and coach Byron Scott talked about how dominant O’Neal was. Scott said he believes O’Neal could have been even more terrifying if he had more of a mean streak on the court.
“He was the biggest teddy bear in the world,” Scott said, “but you get him on that court – and I always say this, and it’s probably the same about Wilt (Chamberlain) back in the day – Wilt could have just dominated even more so if he had a mean streak.
“Kareem had a mean streak. If you hit Kareem, you gonna get an elbow back. If Shaq had that mean streak – because he was so nice – but with that strength that he has … he could have killed people on the basketball court. He could have really dominated, even more so than he did.”
Looking at Shaquille O’Neal’s time with the LA Lakers
Throughout his time on and off the NBA court, Shaquille O’Neal has been one of the most charismatic personalities in basketball.
But when O’Neal was on the court, he was a terrifying challenge for any opposing defender. Listed at 7-foot-1, 324 pounds, O’Neal wasn’t just stronger than all of the opponents he played against, he also had the quickness and agility to take over games.
While Byron Scott’s comments might surprise some, Shaq wasn’t afraid to make his presence felt on any night.
With the Lakers, Shaq averaged 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 57.5%. O’Neal won three of his four championships with the Lakers. He was the 1999-2000 MVP and an All-Star in seven of his eight seasons in Los Angeles.