LeBron James created a superteam in Miami. Kevin Durant helped create one when he joined the Golden State Warriors. Shaquille O’Neal was a member of one when he dominated the league alongside Kobe Bryant. And now, almost a decade after his retirement, Shaq built another one.
But Larry O’Brien is not what this group is after. In fact, there is no tangible validation this team can receive. Because while all other superteams mentioned were on a quest for an NBA championship, this one is competing in the league of hypotheticals, trying to consensually be viewed as the best all-time starting five the NBA has ever seen. And Shaq, the GM, has no doubt in his mind – no one is coming close to his bunch.
You have to hand it to Shaq; this really is a special collection of NBA talent. First, for the accolades. 12 MVPs, 19 NBA championships, 15 NBA Finals MVPs, 19 NBA scoring champions, 63 All-NBA selections, 30 All-Defensive selections, and so much more is shared among the five.
Second, their individual greatness. You have MJ and LeBron – two guys that are in most people’s GOAT conversation. You have arguably the most skilled player ever in Kobe Bryant, alongside one of the most dynamic scorers ever in Allen Iverson. And then you got Shaq orchestrating the paint, being one of the most dominant forces the NBA has ever seen. Four out of five guys are a consensus top 10 players in the history of the association, and one is one of its most influential individuals ever.
There are some questions about the fit, but that’s inevitable when you’re discussing all-time starting fives. People tend to look at it more piece by piece than as a collective, and it seems like the ‘there’s only one ball‘ argument always comes up. But neither fit nor talent-wise, I don’t see a group that would’ve been able to compete with this one. Do you?