‘Only One Superman’: Shaquille O’Neal Reinstates that He Better Deserves the Title Than Dwight Howard

Published 03/06/2021, 5:30 AM EST
AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 14: American Express Brings Together Rapper Travis Scott and Sport’s Legend Shaquille O’Neal at Austin City Limits Festival on October 14, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for American Express)


When the beef between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant was still hot and brimming, a new man challenged Shaq. It was Dwight Howard and his unaccepted knack for dethroning Shaq that stung the four-time NBA Champion and made him Dwight’s biggest critic.

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Shaq began his career with Orlando Magic, and his magical superpower around the glass soon established him as the Superman in the league.

The Magic home court made it a practice to showcase the superman logo on the screen every time the 7-footer would drop a dunk. In came Dwight Howard, and he dared to challenge that legacy.

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Shaquille O’Neal not ready to give away his superhero status

In a recent episode of Inside the NBA, the 49-YO Hall of Famer sat down for a celebrity lunch with fellow mates in Charles Barkley and others. That’s where this topic around the DC Superhero analogy came up and Shaq proudly stated, “This dude right here, he started the beef… I don’t care. There’s only one Superman to ever come through this league, and you know his name. It’s me.” 

Earlier, after the Lakers’ 17th NBA championship victory back in October 2020, Shaq had taken a dig at Dwight. All the celebratory posts from Dwight Howard post the championship win irritated the Big Shamrock.

In fact, Shaq even laughed off Dwight’s chances to become a future Hall of Fame inductee. Fortunately, the beef did not turn any uglier because the younger amongst the two chose to keep mum about the banter on his way.

Read AlsoWhat Was The Reason Behind The Infamous Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard Feud?

The 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest and Shaq’s wrath

The Daily Double, Dwight Howard, entered the league in 2004-05 as an Orlando Magic player. He became the starter from the very first game, and just as Shaquille O’Neal cemented the image of a big dominant player who could rule at both ends. In just two years, he became an irreplaceable center player for the Magic, and everyone saw Shaq’s legacy with Orlando fading away. 

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Then came the 2008 NBA Dunk Contest, which made Dwight immortal in the minds of his fans and critics alike. The 6’10’’ 265 lbs player showed up in a Superman cape (as unveiled by his teammate Jameer Nelson) and took the event by storm.

He missed his opening attempt when the ball bounced off the back of the rim but soon gathered his superpowers. His picturesque Superman Dunk was such that it forced the judges in Karl Malone, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Darryl Dawkins, and Dominique Wilkins to give him a Perfect 50.  

He followed that by another Perfect 50 and later tossed the ball in front of the logo and ran to catch it near the restricted area to draw yet another dunk. A creative fourth dunk a few minutes later, and the man won the event, the Superman tag, and the audience’s support.

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However, none of that amused Shaq, who was sitting somewhere, fuming about the chase this young man pulled to dethrone him. What’s your say, do you count Dwight as the ultimate Superman over Shaq? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1145 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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