Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Why He Was Bored During Lakers vs New Jersey Nets’ 2002 NBA Finals

Published 09/17/2021, 8:27 AM EDT
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 12: Kobe Bryant, Lindsey Hunter and Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate following Game Four of the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets on June 12, 2002 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal was arguably one of the most dominant centers the NBA has ever seen. With a 7’1″ frame and with an incredibly hefty physique, there was no stopping Shaq in his absolute prime.

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Given his incredible dominance, the 1-time MVP ended up winning the NBA title four times in his career. While one of them was with the Miami Heat, the rest of his championships came with the Lakers. Forming an incredible partnership with Kobe Bryant, Shaq flourished with the Lakers and played the best basketball of his career.

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Shaquille O’Neal claims he was bored during the 2002 NBA Finals

Shaq’s time with the Lakers’ certainly had a bumpy ride initially. But with the emergence of Kobe Bryant, there was no stopping the duo of Shaq and Kobe. While O’Neal was the primary go-to option and Bryant was the secondary option. This worked wonders for the Lakers. Making it to the Finals for three consecutive NBA finals from 1999 to 2002, the Purple and Gold won all the three and secured a three-peat.

Winning two Finals in a row with only 3 defeats, their third Final was perhaps the easiest. Outplaying the Nets, the Lakers absolutely dominated in the NBA Finals. Eventually the Shaq and Co. swept the Nets and completed the three-peat.

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In a recent conversation with NBA insider Scoop B Robinson, Shaq claimed that he was bored against the Nets. “It was boring….. I actually got mad when we were playing in Jersey. You think Todd McCulloch is going to stop me at the crib in Jersey in front of my grandma and grandpa?….Sheeeeeit! No. Stop it.”

While the Nets were a solid team with the likes of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin to name a few, their biggest disadvantage was the lack of a good center. Todd MacCulloch and Jason Collins might be 7’0″ tall, but they were no match for Shaq’s dominance.

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Absolutely dominating the boards and scoring easy baskets, the 15-time All-Star averaged 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Another big motivating factor were his grandparents. A Newark native, ‘Shaq Diesel‘ was no stranger to New Jersey and wanted to show his incredible talent to his grandparents.

The NBA Finals were certainly the best time to showcase his talent. Given his incredible numbers, it’s safe to say that the 4-time champion put on a show. This win against the Nets also capped off a historic three peat as well. Is Shaq the best center the game has ever seen?

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Aditya Mohapatra

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Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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