NBA Basketball News: ‘Had Some Tough Battles’ – Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Patrick Ewing Was His Favorite NBA Player

Published 05/14/2021, 7:28 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 16: Shaquille O’Neal is seen at ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ on July 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)


Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Shaq Diesel played in the NBA for almost 20 years and amazed people with his combination of strength and athleticism. During his career, Shaq won several NBA titles and was consistently one of the best players in the league during his prime. But who was the player that O’Neal looked up to during his career?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Shaquille O’Neal pays tribute to Patrick Ewing

Former NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal was paid a surprise visit by New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing. Shaq confessed to Ewing that Ewing was his favorite player, despite the heated battles that the two shared. For Shaq, he was inspired by the way Ewing played and modeled much of his game around Ewing’s. In fact, O’Neal revealed to the former Knicks star that he wore the number 33 in high school and college because of him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

‘Will Smith of the NBA’: Shaquille O’Neal Reveals What Kobe Bryant Wanted to be

4 months ago

Shaq said, “Pat, you and I always had some tough battles but you was always my favorite player. I don’t think you know this, I wore number 33 in high school and college because of you.”

Shaq and Ewing took it to Michael Jordan

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Shaq picked a great player to look up to. During his career, Ewing was one of the best players in the league. He and the New York Knicks were one of the most feared teams in the NBA in the 90s. Despite being good friends, he and Michael Jordan had some intense battles in the Eastern Conference. Jordan himself has said how difficult he found it going up against Ewing and the Knicks, and how physical their battles were.

29609.SP.0513.lakers9.WS Lakers Kobe Bryant, left, celebrates his 48–points with Shaquille O’Neal after defeating the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
DIVE DEEPER

“He Has Totally Got My Respect”: Shaquille O’Neal Amazed by Julius Randle’s Season

4 months ago

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

O’Neal also had his own tryst with Michael Jordan during the early stage of his career. In 1995, Michael Jordan had just made his return to the NBA after a stint in baseball. At that time, a young Shaquille O’Neal was part of a young and talented Orlando Magic with Penny Hardaway and former Bulls star Horace Grant. The trio led the Magic to a victory over the Chicago Bulls en route to the 1995 NBA Finals, where they lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

As his career went on, Shaq went on to win four NBA titles – three with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and one with Dwyane Wade and the Heat. Along with that, he also won an MVP and three Finals MVP titles.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT