I’ve never been a big Shaq fan. I never liked the way he handled losing. I didn’t care for his antics. And the fact that he just so happened to have his peak years during the Kings glory seasons makes me want to commit basketball suicide.
With that said though, the guy was good for the NBA – at least publicly.
NBA.com did a great feature on the former LSU product which included some retrospective from both Chris Webber and Mike Bibby. Both (especially Chris) had quite a bit to say in the piece – it’s well worth the read, but here’s a snippet of their views on a few of their series’ with the Lakers and their big man:
Mike Bibby: Our main goal when we were in Sacramento was to stop Shaq. We knew Kobe was going to do what he had to do, but our main thing was to stop Shaq. Getting there, double-teaming, making sure he didn’t have no easy looks and just trying to make it tough for him. His presence out there is just … I remember like it was yesterday, going out there and seeing how big of a person he was, and stuff like that.
Chris Webber: We knew Kobe was going to score 40, 50 points, but Shaq, we knew he could foul out all of our big guys. And he was the most dominant player I ever played against. I don’t want to say anything misleading about losing, but having stayed in Sacramento, and knowing it was a me-against-the-world mentality, I felt that losing to him, Kobe and Phil Jackson was the only way you can lose. Especially with a young, upstart team, losing on a last-second shot and a questionable game (Game 6). But Shaq, I had a bruised sternum playing against him, two cracked ribs from taking charges, and I had to play center against him and he weighed 100 pounds more than me.
You can read the rest of the David Aldridge piece here – make sure to scroll through the years as Chris is featured throughout the piece.