Shaquille O’Neal is widely regarded as one of the most dominant big men to ever play in the NBA. He was a force on both ends of the court, and he dominated his opponents like few others before him. But despite all his success, there was one player who could stop him from winning an NBA championship; that player never played basketball.
In an interview with ESPN, Shaquille O’Neal’s former NBA Finals foe says that Shaq’s dominance could only be stopped by a specific opponent that never played basketball. Read more in detail here: shaq and kobe championships.
Some pressures are just too powerful to overcome, as NBA great Shaquille O’Neal discovered. O’Neal’s dominance in the paint made him perhaps the best player of all time throughout his basketball career, and it helped him win four titles and three Finals MVP awards.
Only one opponent could stop O’Neal, according to Kenyon Martin, who played against Shaq and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2002 NBA Finals.
In the 2002 NBA Finals, Shaq and the Lakers faced Kenyon Martin and the Nets.
Shaquille O’Neal was already one of the NBA’s most dominating players when Kenyon Martin joined the league in 2000.
He was named MVP and led the league in scoring for the second time in his career, having done it the previous year in 1999-2000. That season, O’Neal also won his first title, followed by his second during Martin’s rookie season in 2000-01.
However, in 2001-02, O’Neal and the Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row, when they played Martin and the New Jersey Nets.
The Lakers comfortably won the series, sweeping the Nets 4-0, but in three of the four games, the teams were separated by less than seven points. Shaq averaged 36.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in the four games, winning Finals MVP. O’Neal and Martin were also their teams’ top scorers. Martin, on the other side, had a 22.0 point and 6.5 rebounds per game average.
Following the series, O’Neal continued to play in the NBA until 2011, while Martin retired following the 2014-15 season. So, during their careers, they were both very acquainted with each other’s abilities, which led to the former Nets great recently describing how dominating the Hall of Fame big man was on the floor.
Only ‘Father Time,’ according to Kenyon Martin, could protect Shaquille O’Neal.
Martin recently appeared on Gilbert Arenas’ No Chill show, where he spoke about going up against O’Neal.
But, despite guarding one through five on the floor, the Cincinnati native said that Shaq was just too powerful for him to handle.
On the Sept. 21 episode, he stated, “[If] they ran something and it was in transition or whatever, and I had to pick him up; it wasn’t one of those times when we walked out and [it was] like, ‘Kenyon, you got him.” “I’m the double guy,” he says. I’m the guy that doubles and gets out. I can go wherever I am on the floor, raise my hand, double or get out, and tell you where to go on the backside if he catches it. I’m the person who’s with him.”
Martin then unveiled the one and only opponent capable of stopping Shaq.
He replied, “There was no protecting him, man.” “Father Time kept an eye on Shaq. Dog, believe me when I say there was no stopping that guy. No. He’s the only player in history who has never shot anything outside of the paint and yet has dominated.”
As a result, defending O’Neal was clearly tough. Is Martin, however, correct? Was Father Time the only foe capable of defeating Shaq?
Shaquille O’Neal was stopped by Father Time.
On June 7, 2001, Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers held a news conference. | Getty Images/AFP/Jeff Haynes
O’Neal was unguardable in his peak, as Martin pointed out. He averaged 28.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks a season from 1993-94 through 2002-03. During that 10-year period, he also topped the NBA in field-goal percentage six times.
However, when he approached the age of 30, O’Neal’s statistics started to deteriorate. Shaq averaged 20.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks from 2003-04 to 2006-07, while he was between the ages of 31 and 34. O’Neal averaged 13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks a game between 2007-08 and 2010-11 (from 35 to 38).
Kobe Bryant, Shaq’s former superstar Lakers teammate, once said that growing older was tougher on O’Neal than it was for him.
“He was a slacker for years. But what about the three titles that we won? Bryant told GQ in 2015, “To say he was a beast would be an understatement.” “… To be honest, I believe what occurred is that as you grow older, your body begins to break down, and in order to go through it, you have to enjoy the process….” With his big toe and knee, he found it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and push past those obstacles. At the time, he may not have been as eager to do those things, and I wasn’t happy about it.”
Every basketball fan knows that at his peak, O’Neal was as dominant as they come. Father Time, on the other hand, comes for everyone, and he was no exception.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
After winning his fifth NBA title, Kobe Bryant savagely trolled Shaquille O’Neal with a simple 6-word sentence.
Shaquille O’Neal’s former NBA Finals foe says that the only way to stop Shaq from dominating was to have a specific opponent who never played basketball. Reference: shaq height.
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