How Shaquille O’Neal Has Dennis Rodman to Blame for Huge Tactic That Ruined His Form and Led to NBA Rule Change

Published 06/16/2022, 8:30 PM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 14: Shaquille O’Neal attends the ESPN Gala: “30 For 30: This Magic Moment” Screening during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest players ever to have played the sport of basketball. He was a dominant force not seen in the league since the time of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. He was a physically dominant player who would just move the opposite player just by his sheer size and strength.

At his peak, Shaq was the most dominant player in the sport. But eventually coaches found a way to reduce Shaq’s damage. Since O’Neal did not have a particularly great free throw shooting, coaches would tell their players to just foul him.

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The Big Diesel was a brutally low 52.7 percent career free-throw shooter. So fouling him gave them a chance at one point play instead of the two if Shaq made the shot. And thus Hack-a-Shaq was born.

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But the Lakers legend was not the original target of this tactic. The “Hack-a-Shaq” was actually intended to stop Dennis Rodman. In a December 1997 road game against the Chicago Bulls, Dallas coach Don Nelson asked rookie Bubba Wells to foul Rodman as many times as possible to send the poor-shooting Worm to the line and steal a few possessions. This would eventually find its way as a tactic to be used against O’Neal in later years.

Shaquille O’Neal- The most dominant player ever

Shaq dominated the league right from his rookie year with the Magic. The Orlando Magic selected him as the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. He would then immediately turn around Orlando’s future. Along with Penny, Shaq would make Orlando a contender in just two years.

They would go to the 1995 NBA Finals but would get swept by the Houston Rockets. Shaq would then leave Orlando for the Lakers due to his disputes with the management and the local media.

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Lakers from left Tyronn Lue, Brian Shaw, Robert Horry, Shaquille O’Neal and Ron Harper in Philadelphia. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal’s time with the Lakers would make him a legend there. Along with Kobe, he would form a dynamic one-two punch. They went on to win three straight NBA Championships.

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Shaq also won three straight NBA Finals MVPs for his efforts. During the 1999-00 season, he won almost every major award, the league MVP, scoring title, and the Finals MVP, but missed out on the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Let us know in the comments below your favorite Shaq memory.

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Nirjhar Sharma

174 articles

Nirjhar Sharma is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a sports enthusiast who follows all major sports and has been watching the NBA for the past 7 years now. A firm believer in the 'Greek Freak' being the best player in the league right now, he believes that the Bucks are primed for another championship run unless the injury bug bites them.

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