28 Years After Michael Jordan’s Humiliating Defeat, Ex-Teammate Unveils His Unfulfilled ‘Supergroup’ Wish With Shaquille O’Neal

Published 09/06/2023, 4:27 PM EDT

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The Chicago Bulls won six championships in the 1990s under the great Michael Jordan. During his time, he was surrounded by talented players who supported him and the team to raise the banners. Toni Kukoč was one of them. He played for the Bulls from 1993 and helped them get their second three-peat.

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Kukoč retired from the league in 2006. Since his retirement, he hasn’t been seen much in the spotlight. Recently, he had a conversation with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, where he said that he wished that Jordan had teamed up with the Diesel back in the day.

Forming a superteam in the 90s

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Toni Kukoč wishes Michael had teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal. Kukoč believes that a team with these two will be unbeatable. This was his idea of a superteam like the current generation back in the day. He believes that they could have had the best lineup ever. He also said that the team would have so much firepower that it “wouldn’t be fair” to any other team.

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Shaq’s addition to that team is unimaginable. The Bulls in 1996 went 72-10 in the regular season and are considered the best team ever by most people. Adding Shaq to that team can elevate the Bulls team to even greater heights. This would definitely make them the greatest team ever, without question. This also meant that Shaq would be replacing Luc Longley in the lineup. Longley put up 5 PPG during the semifinals against the Orlando Magic, whereas Shaq was leading the Magic with 25 PPG. Having Shaq and Rodman on your team also meant that the Bulls would have out-rebounded every team in the league.

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The Bulls 72-10 record stood still until 2016. In 2016, the Golden State Warriors went 73-9 (the most wins in the regular season), but the team didn’t win the finals against LeBron James.

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Shaq dominated against Jordan and the Bulls

Jordan retired from basketball to pursue baseball in 1993. He came back to basketball in 1995 with the iconic “I’m back” quote. People were hoping the Bulls would win again, but a young Shaq had other ideas. Chicago Bulls faced the Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Magic were the No. 1 team in the East that season, led by Shaquille O’Neal. The series lasted six games before the team moved on to the next round. This was Jordan’s last defeat in the playoffs. Jordan never got his revenge against the Magic, as Shaq left the team that off-season.

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Shaq averaged 25 PPG and 2 BLK, leading the Magic against the Bulls. They had no answer for Shaq and his dominance on the court. Michael averaged 31 PPG, but it was still not enough to get past Orlando.

 

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese

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Rijin is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for over a decade. He likes to learn about the nuances of sports, understand every player's contribution to a team, and also learn the logic behind player signings and team building.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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