WATCH: 4x NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal Got Burned on Live TV for One of the Biggest Upsets in His Life by $300 Million NBA Legend

Published 09/03/2022, 8:30 AM EDT

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Shaquille O’Neal is undoubtedly one of the most established NBA players. In his 19-year career span, O’Neal led his team to several wins. But even a legend like him has had his fair share of embarrassing moments. Former Indiana Pacers shooting guard Reggie Miller once roasted Shaq on live television. This happened after the latter pointed out to Miller that he was holding the trophy wrong. 

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O’Neal told Miller, that the trophy had to be held with the left hand, and in return, Miller told him that he would ask Hakeem Olajuwon. This bought back memories of O’Neal’s rather disappointing defeat in the 1995 NBA Finals. 

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When Shaquille O’Neal entered the league, Hakeem Olajuwon was already a big name in the NBA. But it didn’t take long for O’Neal to showcase his skills and get recognition as a dominant player. The two legends faced each other in the 1995 NBA Finals.

Shaquille O’Neal and his rivalry with Hakeem Olajuwon

However, the Houston Rockets, led by Olajuwon, overpowered Shaq’s Orlando Magic and won the series by sweeping them 4-0. This was arguably worse for O’Neal because he was constantly compared to Olajuwon. Although it is fair to say that he was only in his third season in the NBA at the time.

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“After making it to the Finals in ’95 & getting embarrassed by Hakeem Olajuwon, I said to myself, ‘If I ever go back, I gotta put on a performance so dominant that it won’t be a question who the champ is,’” O’Neal said to Scoop B Radio.

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Following his exit from the Orlando Magic, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers and bagged three NBA championships and three Finals MVP awards. O’Neal won his fourth NBA championship after he joined the Miami Heat. Whereas, Olajuwon, whose net worth is around $300 million, already had several accolades in his name, including two NBA championships.

In an interview with Bleacher Report, when the interviewer asked O’Neal which player gave him the most problems, he said “Hakeem Olajuwon. Most guys are tri-dimensional—one move, two, maybe three. Hakeem had seven moves on each block, so he was hard to stop.” 

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Shaquille O’Neal was in the prime time of his career, winning championship after championship. However, it was rather disappointing not to be able to witness Shaq and The Dream face off each against each other in the court again. 

Who do you think was better in their prime? Shaquille O’Neal or Hakeem Olajuwon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by:

Siyari Debbarma

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Siyari Debbarma is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She is currently pursuing a B. Tech degree in Civil Engineering from Abascus Institute of Engineering and Management.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani

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