Skip to main content

Prime Shaq vs. a rookie Yao Ming


Back in 2003, a phenom from China was introduced to the NBA, as a 7’6’’ center named Yao Ming was drafted first overall. He had the whole country of China on his back and a never seen before hype around him.

That hype was going up, as the matchup between a rookie Yao Ming and 30-year old prime Shaquille O’Neal was set to take the stage for the first time.

It was a duel of two opposites. Yao was a huge and lanky center, with an unbelievable skill set for his size, with a nice touch around the rim and great passing ability. An all-around finesse center. While on the other side you had the biggest powerhouse in the history of the NBA, who would take every player into the rim.

The game and matchup would live up to the hype, as both players gave it their all. Yao showed no fear, as he surprised everybody on the defensive end, keeping Shaq out of the paint and blocking him numerous times, and going at him on the other end.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

He was holding his own for a good chunk of the game, but the reigning MVP was getting better as the game went on and started to dominate and play his game. The game ended up going into overtime, where the Rockets would prevail with a 108-104 win.

Yao blocked O'Neal's first three shots attempts, altered Kobe Bryant's game-winning attempt at the end of regulation and dunked it with 10.2 seconds left for the biggest basket of the night, giving Houston a 104-100 lead to seal the game, as he was a seeming hero of the game.

They both had good stat lines, but Shaq finished with the better statistical line notching 31 points, 13 rebounds and four assists to Yao's 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, but it was ultimately Steve Francis who led them with 44 points.

"How should I put it: We beat the Lakers today, but Shaq is still Shaq," the 7-foot-6 Yao said of the 360-pound O'Neal."He's like a truck."

Dwyane Wade and Tracy McGrady call Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving the best duo ever

The Internet remains undefeated reacting to Kevin Durant's trade request

To be fair, a good portion of these are actually directed at Kyrie.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tried mentoring Andrew Bynum by showing him Bill Russell's defensive highlights

Bynum would start to get it, but he wasn't too interested in playing defense, in Kareem's words.

Allen Iverson wearing the iconic 76ers black jersey that the organisation might bring back

Philadelphia 76ers may bring back the black jerseys Allen Iverson made famous

The Philadelphia 76ers’ most popular jerseys in franchise history are arguably the black-themed ones that many associate with no other than Allen Iverson.

Draymond Green explains why the Warriors will win three out of four next championships

Draymond Green believes that the Golden State Warriors will win three of the next four championships

Draymond Green may be confident the Warriors can win more titles but he's also setting the bar extremely high for the organization for the next few years

Kobe Bryant on the first time he went up against Manu Ginobili

"Who's this white boy?" — Kobe Bryant on his first meeting with a San Antonio Spurs legend

Kobe Bryant believes the NBA had to adjust to this legend's unique and unorthodox playstyle.

Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird and Providence Friars head coach Rick Pitino

"I needed an offensive gimmick" — Larry Bird names the real 3-point shot instigator before Stephen Curry

Nowadays, when people knock down a 3-point shot they yell "Steph Curry." Back in the day, people blurted out "Pitino Bombino."

John Wall on why he cares more about his legacy than championship

John Wall on why he cares more about his legacy than championship: "Winning a ring is not everything"

At one point, with superteams already stacked with multiple stars, some believed that the Wizards should also do the same if they want to win a championship. But not Wal