Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan faced each other a few times during the 90s. waltz on the floor, with an epic line.
Monstrous during his career, Shaquille O’Neal however, always dragged behind him a reputation for laziness. Not necessarily invested in training, these reproaches ended up extending to his game on the floors, some pointing in particular to his defense. However, contrary to what one might think, the Hall of Famer was not the type to want to let someone score under his nose. On the contrary, he made it personal.
It must be said that from the top of its 2m16 for 150 kilos, the Big Diesel was not exactly easy to circumvent in the racket. Whether it’s simply opposing with his body, or unleashing a huge counter, the former pivot is an almost impassable mountain. In particular, he refused above all that we could go up on his muzzle with a dunk, and he affirms that only three players have achieved this in his entire career. Not sure if that’s true, but it shows he was fully motivated in defence.
When Jordan told the Shaq to ‘never help anyone’
Among these lucky ones, there is a legend and not the least, since it is Michael Jordan in person. However, as O’Neal explained on the sidelines of the revelation of the Top 75 all-time in the league, he did everything to prevent the Chicago No. 23 from crushing him, including by resorting to means quite illicit. However, that did not prevent the six-time champion from impressing him greatly during an action where he had knocked him down, as he says:
I’m proud that I’ve hardly ever been dunked on. In 19 years, I can say that I probably took 3 or 4 dunks on the face. But His Highness Michael Jordan came from the baseline once and tried to dunk on me. It hurt my arm, but I had to blatantly foul him. When I wanted to shake his hand and pick him up, he said, “Never help anyone,” and he jumped up.
I knew then why he was the best player of the game. Pat Riley told me a little later that you should show respect to other players by not showing them any. So Michael Jordan, yes we are friends, brothers in life, but when we are playing on the field, I don’t know you.
An outstanding competitor, MJ categorically refused help from anyone, even when it was simply a matter of getting up. For him, it was practically an admission of weakness and it is not surprising that his declaration had such an impact on the Big Cactus, which has held him in very high esteem for years. It also explains why the No. 32 could be so manly near the basket, not hesitating to cut his opponents on occasion.
Bringing down Michael Jordan obviously wasn’t enough to impress him, not even when you’re a colossus like Shaquille O’Neal. One wonders what it takes to inspire terror in the former Bulls!