When talking about the best centers in the history of the league, one cannot overlook the dominance of Shaquille O’Neal. He was one of the last few true centers in the game of basketball and made his presence felt on the court.
On this day in the NBA in 1992, Shaq made his debut for the Orlando Magic in a dominant first game. Shaq’ Magic won the game 110-100 over the Miami Heat. In this game, Shaq finished with 12 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks.
Ever since the game, it was clear that Shaq was here to stay. He then had a fantastic rookie season, in fact, one of the best ever.
Shaq bagged the Rookie of the Year Award in 1993 and made the NBA All-Star team as well, all in his first year. He capped this season off with 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game.
However, this was just the beginning of Shaq’s dominance in the league. In the coming years, he won multiple individual accolades, but it wasn’t until the Diesel became a Laker he won NBA championships.
When O’Neal joined the Lakers in 1996, they were still in a search of a superstar to lead the team. The purple and gold placed their trust in Shaq to lead the team back to glory years.
Shaq, along with Kobe Bryant, fulfilled this dream for the Lakers fans, as the lethal duo of him and Kobe started the 2000s decade with a bang. They won three consecutive championships under renowned head coach Phil Jackson.
But at the end of the day, Shaq’s time with the Lakers was bittersweet. The future Hall of Famer beefed with Kobe on numerous occasions during their time together. Moreover, Shaq was already declining due to recurring injury issues.
All the drama ended when he was traded out of the Lakers as the franchise placed trust in Kobe.
Although Shaq played with several teams after the Lakers, he was still known for his accomplishments there. Shaq’s career was terrific, which led to him being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
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