Skip to main content

Remembering Shaquille O'Neal's NBA debut

shaq

One of the most awaited debuts in NBA history was the one of Shaquille O'Neal back on November 11, in 1992. Shaq was already a big college star prior to his rookie season in the NBA and the Orlando Magic were the franchise lucky enough to draft him.

The 7'1" 300-pound Shaq with a 36″ vert and only 10% body fat was seen as a savior of a franchise that was started in Orlando just a couple seasons prior to his rookie debut.

And Shaquille did not disappoint in his first game against Miami Heat. In 32 minutes of action, Shaq scored 12 points on only 8 shot attempts, grabbed 18 big rebounds and had 3 blocks in a win that also had some other big performances from other players.

Nick Anderson had 42 points and 8 rebounds while Dennis Scott finished the game with a strong 27-point performance for the Magic. Shaq didn't score a lot that night but his presence was felt on the defensive end of the floor where he was setting the tone with his ability to rebound and block shots.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Miami Heat center Rony Seikaly was in charge of guarding Shaq for the majority of that night and was overwhelmed by Shaq's power.

“When he leaned on me, it was like a house falling on you,”

Shaq would go on to have a dominant rookie season averaging 23 points, 14 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. Of course, he would go on to win the rookie of the year award that season. Orlando Magic had 20 wins more that season after Shaq joined the team and were in a good situation to build the franchise the right way after drafting such a powerful player.

Unfortunately, they had a couple of bright moments but ultimately didn't win any championships and a very talented Orlando Magic team was eventually broke apart.

Golden State Warriors head coach Keith Smart instructs point guard Stephen Curry

“He didn't believe that much in Steph and would bench him a lot” — Jeremy Lin opens up about the rocky relationship between Steph Curry and his former coach Keith Smart

During Steph's second year in the league, he was often yelled at, benched during the 4th quarter, and reprimanded by his former coach, Keith Smart.

Paul Westhead, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers

“When you try to reign in a 22-year-old elite athlete from pushing himself to be his best, you’re going to get conflict.” — Kareem weighs in on the Magic vs. Westhead issue

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar walked down memory lane and shared his take on the issue between Magic Johnson and Paul Westhead back in the day.

Utah Jazz guard John Stockton and Earl Watson

”He got real chest hair coming out of his jersey” — Earl Watson recalls when John Stockton took him to school

Earl Watson came up with a counter against John Stockton's tendencies. Little did he know that the Utah Jazz had one move to counter his counter.

Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone and Phoenix Suns forward Charles Barkley

“I have Charles Barkley’s attitude, and my inside game is as powerful as his and Karl Malone’s” — when an NBA rookie boasted about his game

In 1993, Rodney Rogers generated quite a buzz when he claimed that he was a better version of Charles Barkley and Karl Malone.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Ayton

“A lot of times guys don’t accept that very well” — Antonio Daniels defends Chris Paul from fans and players criticizing his leadership

Antonio Daniels admires it, Kenyon Martin not so much - Chris Paul's controversial leadership style isn't for everyone.