Skip to main content

The biggest "what if" duo in the history of the NBA


Today marks the 26th anniversary of The Orlando Magic drafting Shaquille O'Neal with the first pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, as a spectacular duo with him and Penny Hardaway was formed. Unfortunately, they didn't reach their potential, mainly because of Penny's injuries.

Shaquille O'Neal had a pretty legendary career. Not just with his own accomplishments, but also in terms of the stars he teamed up with. He's played alongside a number of future Hall of Fame-caliber players, including Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, and LeBron James. Of course, it all started back in Orlando with Penny Hardaway. That duo managed to reach one NBA Finals together, but their partnership didn't last for too long.

O'Neal decided that it was time for a new path elsewhere and headed to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. The decision to join the Lakers clearly worked out well for Shaq by winning three straight NBA titles in L.A., though it is interesting to think what could have been for the Magic had O'Neal stuck around with Penny by his side. As fate would have it injuries decimated the future of Hardaway's career. This has always left a question in the minds of many. What if Shaq had stayed with Penny in Orlando?

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Shaq thinks they could have gone all the way: "All I was thinking was [we were] the new Magic and the new Kareem. When we played together it was awesome. He was Kobe before Kobe. So I think if we had stayed together we definitely would have gotten one. Maybe two."

And he was probably right. The duo was electric and managed to develop great chemistry in a short time, along with a few other great supporting players like "3&D" Dennis Scott, Nick Anderson and etc. They were one of the scariest teams of the east in the '90s in the golden era of the NBA as we were all unfortunate to not see more of them.

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal - “I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

Shaquille O’Neal speaking on the Ime Udoka scandal -“I was a serial cheater…I did it. I was the best at it”

O'Neal labeled himself as a serial cheater and explained how his foolish actions from earlier in his life ended up being one of the worst decisions he made

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.