Shaq has always been known as a strong opinioned person, during and after his career. And on this occasion, he felt like subtly throwing shade at the great Tim Duncan.
In the 2002 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets without much problem, as Shaq dominated the series and earned MVP honors while averaging a monster 36.3 ppg and 12.3 rpg. He was especially motivated as the final game was played in his hometown of New Jersey and during a postgame interview he threw shade at Duncan by saying, “First of all, I wanna say congratulations to Jason Kidd, the REAL MVP of the regular season.”
Kidd who had led the Nets all the way to the Finals earned respect from Shaq, and rightfully so as he averaged an all-around stat line of 20.8 ppg, 9.8 apg, and 7.3 rpg. However, it didn’t look like the statement was resolved about him. It was about Tim Duncan who had won the regular season MVP Award that season, and obviously, Shaq disagreed with it.
Many thought Shaq was bugged that people thought Tim Duncan was a better player than him, as he is known for being a bit thin skinned when his legacy was a question. Duncan low keyed as he always is didn’t care to respond with a statement and let his game do the talking. He would get his revenge the following year as the Spurs eliminated the Lakers in the Western Semi-Finals in 6 games and went on to win the Finals against the Nets for Duncan’s second ring.