Isiah Thomas Thought Young Shaquille O’Neal Could Have Become the GOAT Over Michael Jordan

Published 09/17/2021, 11:03 PM EDT
ORLANDO, FL – 1993: Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Orlando Magic poses with Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls prior to playing an NBA game circ 1993 at the TD WAterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1993 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal is widely regarded as one of the best NBA players of all time. He bossed the role of a center during his playing career and ended up being one of the most successful players in the NBA. Shaq is a four-time NBA champion which includes a three-peat with the Lakers and one with Miami Heat.

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He was a prodigy during his college basketball career and many felt that he would achieve great things. Shaq won the Rookie of the Year in his rookie season with Orlando Magic.

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Shaq also made it to the NBA All-Star in his first season itself. This led to him being touted as the next Michael Jordan of the game. In fact, in an old video, Isiah Thomas has said that Shaq could have become the GOAT.

Isiah Thomas felt Shaquille O’Neal could have become the GOAT

An old video of Isiah Thomas has resurfaced on YouTube. In the video, the host asked Isiah: “What is it about the Lakers that made them a championship team?”. To this, the Detroit Pistons legend replied: “You have to start with Shaquille O’Neal.”

Isiah added how the critics questioned Shaquille O’Neal’s abilities. He also opened up on how Shaq worked and improve on his weaknesses.

“He was the guy that everyone has questioned from his free throw shooting to his hook shot to everything. But he kept working, and he kept improving,” Isiah added.

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“I think when looking at Shaquille O’Neal right now, I think we’re looking at star of one of the players who could possibly end up being the best ever player.”

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Two-time NBA champion Isiah Thomas spent his entire career with Detroit Pistons. Isiah has also coached two NBA teams in his coaching career – Indiana Pacers & New York Knicks.

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While his coaching career wasn’t as successful as his playing career, he became the All-Star head coach in 2003. With so much experience at his disposal, Isiah rightly predicted the success of Shaquille O’Neal. While many would not agree that Shaq is the GOAT, his success on and off the pitch can’t be denied.

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Abhishek Singh

216 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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