Shaquille O’Neal Admits Knicks Legend Was The Only Player Who Intimidated Him

Published 12/19/2021, 11:56 PM EST
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)


While talking about a dominant center in the NBA’s history, the discussion goes unfinished without mentioning Shaquille O’Neal. However, when O’Neal was in the league, he had a dominant role model as well. The answer is surprisingly very unexpected.

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At a time where Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar had already played at the peak of their careers, O’Neal had a unique role model. It was the New York Knicks legend, Patrick Ewing.

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On the occasion of the NBA’s 75th anniversary, Shaquille O’Neal admitted this fact to honor the Knicks legend. This is what he said about watching and subsequently, coming across Patrick Ewing for the first time.

Shaquille O’Neal has an unexpected role model: Patrick Ewing

While talking about Patrick Ewing, O’Neal said, “When I was coming up, my father always said, ‘Hey! I’m going to make you like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain’. And as a youngster, I used to practice these old-school moves, really old-school moves. And then one day I was watching Patrick Ewing in Georgetown.”

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He continued, “Big guy, mean, physical, throwing people around, running the court. I said ‘Dad, I want to be like him’ and he said, ‘I know, this is why I got you watching the game’.”

Mar 12, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Georgetown Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing coaches during the first half against the Seton Hall Pirates at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The superstar further added, “As I became better, I wanted to be like Patrick Ewing. He was the first guy that when I played against him, I was actually intimidated.” 

What stood out about Patrick Ewing?

While Ewing did not have success in terms of championships, he was almost single-handedly a threat to win one. The closest he came to winning a championship was in 1994 when he helped the Knicks reach the NBA finals. Unfortunately for him, even in Michael Jordan‘s absence, Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets had plans to ruin their championship ambitions.

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Nevertheless, the 11-time All-Star had a lot of dominance and scoring under his belt. Therefore, he will forever remain a legend in the NBA and the Knicks’ history books.

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Ewing intimidated a player like Shaquille O’Neal who also intimidated the entire NBA when he played. That will always be an amazing fact.

 

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

486 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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