June 1st, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

Probably my least favorite NBA player of all time. I always thought he was lazy and committed 20 fouls per game but never got called out on it because he's Shaq.

My favorite NBA memory isn't the Bad Boy Pistons but the title against Shaq's Lakers.


June 1st, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

I give a lot of credit to Shaq.  He turned $5 worth of basketball skills into $100+ Million.  That's savvy.    If only I were 7' 1" 400lbs and could back my way in for a dunk every time without drawing a foul....

I always liked his smile and persona.

Space Coyote

June 1st, 2011 at 4:43 PM ^

Shaq was big, yes, but he had a lot more talent than you are implying.  He had good footwork and good touch around the rim.  There are a ton of big guys around the league that weren't nearly as skilled as he was, included quite a few with similar size.

And as much as he fouled on offense (every play) he was also fouled.  Basically, there was no way to ref him, because he should have fouled out on 6 offensive fouls but every team also hacked him because he was too big to stop.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

I like how you concede his main point that Shaq basically should've properly fouled out in the first quarter of every game he played but didn't because he was Shaq, and then basically go "oh, but so what?"

The idea he had great moves is ridiculous. I'm not sure I ever saw him make a shot outside eight feet. Can anyone, even a Shaq fan, honestly say Shaq worked 1/10th as hard on improving his game as Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, or (insert other superstar here) did? Probably not. He basically got by on being 7' and ~400lbs as the gentleman stated.

Space Coyote

June 1st, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

You completely misquoted me and took things out of context.  Never did I say his moves were "great", I said good, which implies better than "$5 skill".  I said, yes, he committed a lot of fouls.  Others also fouled him every single play.  It was a 2-way street, either way there would have been a foul one way or the other every time he touched the ball.

I also didn't say he worked harder than most greats.  He didn't.  He also did take advantage of his size, which, I'm not saying he didn't.  If he didn't, he would have been idiotic.  

He had very good touch from within 8 feet, had a good baby hook, had very good hands (for catching a lot of poorly thrown passes) and foot work on the block.  He was a terrible shooter, yes, I never said he wasn't, but he also had hands the size of tires (good for catching, not for shooting), it's not easy to shoot with those. 

Look, I didn't like Shaq during his playing days, but to say he had no skill and was just big is incorrect.  There have been many big guys play that weren't even close to as successful as he was.

Here's some highlights.  Check the start for great athletic ability for a man you claim to be ~400 lbs.  Check ~0:17 and ~0:35 for good footwork and low block moves, ~0:22 for great hands.  Check ~1:12 for the baby hook he scored tons of points with.  Matter of fact, just watch the whole thing, it's pretty much a clinic of what he did for about 15 years in the NBA.

Wilt is still better in my opinion, and there have been greats with more skill than Shaq, but what made Shaq great was a combo of size no one could stop and still good skill around the hoop.  He hooked a lot of people on offense with his elbows (which is taught to most big men, it's just he was huge so it was more obvious) and did that bull rush crap that pissed me off.  But Shaq also was fouled more than anyone in the game without the foul being called.  People hit his arms every single play.  There was no good way to ref him because there was a foul every play both ways.  Either way, he was a very good player, had good skill, and great size.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:46 PM ^

What a lot of people seem to overlook is that many of the all-time greats had some major physical advantage.  Wilt was even larger relative to his competition than Shaq was; there were skinny 6'8" guys trying to defend him.  Magic Johnson often had guys six inches (or more) shorter guarding him.  Dirk is just under 7 feet and shoots threes.  LeBron is often far heavier than the man guarding him.  And so on.  The great ones combine their physical advantages with terrific skill to be unguardable.     


June 1st, 2011 at 6:32 PM ^

Wilt was a better rebounder and defender, and that season he averaged 50 ppg is just mind-blowing.  I'd rank Wilt among the top five players ever, with Shaq more like top 15-20.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

For one thing, Shaq wasn't always 400 lbs - guy used to be pretty svelte and could run the floor like a guard.  Yeah he "fouled" guys when he went to the hoop, but that is true for most big centers.  He had great touch around the rim, was a freak of nature in his earlier years, and was a bright spot for a league that struggled toward the end of the Jordan era to have stars that didn't scare/piss off most fans.  I think he did work on his game early on, but at some point there wasn't much more he could do other than shoot FTs better, which may just have been something he wasn't going to do well.  He definitely got lazy at the end, but even as an over-the-hill center he scored in double figures and was a force around the rim against guys 10-12 years younger.  

I never loved Shaq because he could have been better, but he won 4 championships, an MVP, and was one the most dominant player in the league for over a decade.  Hate on his effort, but the guy was a great player with a nice repetoire of skills.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

Shaq never got the credit he deserved for his postup moves.  In his prime he had a very good hook and turnaround J.  He also was a terrific passer, which was why double-teaming him often backfired.  Shaq often had one of the highest assist averages of any starting center.  Yes, he used his size to his advantage, but that was one just part of his game.  It wasn't his entire game.  

 I never rooted for any of his teams, but I recognized his greatness.  The man played 19 seasons and averaged 24 and 11.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:46 PM ^

I totally agree.  People forget how good he was the first 5-10 years he was in the league.  Just a physical marvel that someone that big could run the floor and dominate on both ends of the court.  People freak out about Dwight Howard, but Shaq in his prime was a better all-around player than Howard and about as good an athlete.  


June 1st, 2011 at 10:48 PM ^

If he worked as hard on his game (and weight) as those other physically gifted players did, he'd probably have ended up the greatest of all time. He at least should have been a 30 point scorer (and more like 15-18 RB). He WAS an incredible physical specimen, not just an NBA tall guy, but a guy with normal proportions in a 7+ foot body, so he could still be athletic. He just didn't work on his game or shape. But get out of his talent what say, Laimbeer got out of his merger gifts, he'd have been in Jordan rarified air.


June 1st, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

Great guy, volunteer cop and much more likable than 90% of the NBA.

That being said, given how often he draws fouls, you'd think the man would have spent more time on his free throw skills.  

oriental andrew

June 1st, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

they did overlap for several years, but (H)akeem entered the league a good 8 years before Shaq and was 30 or so by the time they first squared off on the court.  I'd say Akeem was a generation ahead of Shaq, with the likes of Patrick Ewing and Ralph Sampson.  Shaq's closest contemporaries are guys like Mutombo and Mourning.  The Admiral spanned both generations, I'd say.  Kind of a dearth of elite centers in the late 80's drafts.  

Space Coyote

June 1st, 2011 at 5:56 PM ^

Olajuwan was one of the more skilled that I alluded to being more skilled than Shaq.  I wouldn't say he was better overall though.  Overall, Shaq's combo of size and skill made him top 4 centers of all time with Wilt, Russell, Kareem.  Olajuwan is probably in the group behind them with Ewing, Robinson, Moses Malone, etc.  

I would also put him in the generation before as the poster above me said.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:51 PM ^

Olajuwan was established when Shaq broke into the league, but in his prime he was probably the most skilled big man I ever saw (didn't see Wilt or Kareem except in highlights). That said, Shaq had a much better power game but also had decent range, and did win 4 titles along the way.  If I had to pick the best centers of the past 30 years, they would be my two choices, and maybe Mourning a distant number 3 .


June 1st, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

Always gave a lot to the communities that he played in, especially LA and always tried to do it without the press which means he was actually trying to help not just promote himself in some way.  Plus some great off the wall quotes of all times and the ones he failed at then at least I watched wondering what was going to come out of his mouth.  However, I agree with JClay, one of my favorite Piston moments was the series that we crushed the Lakers after they picked up Malone and Payton. 

Steve Lorenz

June 1st, 2011 at 5:08 PM ^

Too many people are criticizing his style of play because they're failing to remember the type of player he was in his prime. He was dominant in almost every facet of the game and has been a complete shell of himself the last three or four years. Shaq at his peak was one of the best players in NBA history. It will be weird to think of an NBA without him. 

Funny to think if he even shot %70 at the FT line that he would likely be considered one of the two or three best players in history. 


June 1st, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

Shaq's been "retired" for about two years now.  Today just makes it official.  He sure was great before time caught up to his body, though.  Can a "reality show" as a law enforcement official be far behind?

I Bleed Maize N Blue

June 1st, 2011 at 5:42 PM ^

I was never a fan of Shaq, but did think that he was very agile for a big man.  I thought he would have been better if he had stayed at 300 lbs.  Early in his career he might have even been under.  But then he bulked up.  I was puzzled, as he was already big, but if you can elbow guys out of the way, then dunk, and get the and 1 because their faces hit your elbow, why not?

Of course extra weight didn't help his knees any, then fat followed the muscle, just adding to the problem.

I remember he was so insulted that the Pistons had Ben Wallace guard him one-on-one.  Sure, he would get his points early, but then he'd gas, and he couldn't get quite as low on the block, and his shots would be short, and he didn't get rebounds.  Beating the Lakers in that championship series was oh so sweet.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:58 PM ^

One of the greatest players in NBA history.  It's sad to see him go, but at least he's finally stepping down.  He was a shadow of his former self, but he was a VERY formitable player for periods.  He may have only been able to play small segments, but he was VERY competitive for that amount of time.  Gonna miss watching him


June 1st, 2011 at 6:44 PM ^

Shaq is the last of the bigger-then-life media friendly players.

The young group now (I pull out pipe and point at you) are all narcissistic tat-sleeved selfish dunking trash talkers.

Bird-Magic-Zeke-Jordan era was peak of the NBA.


June 1st, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

One of the greatest ball games I have ever seen. Paul Westhead's run-n-gun LMU v Dale Brown's Southern Sleepers.

Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers travel to Shaq, Stanley Roberts and Chris Jackson's big timers.

LSU decides to run with them - and wow, just, wow. I think Shaq had a triple double, some huge score in OT. Shaq actually had moves and for a while there was debate, while they played togehter, as to who was the better big man, he or Roberts.

Then of course, as they usually do, the NBA fucked it all up once he got there. Ah, but those were the days.