Imagine having the best season of your life, winning an MVP, the NBA title and still feeling a bit bitter about that season. That's what Shaq feels like about his 99/00 season and the man to blame is Fred Hickman, or as Shaq refers to him Fred idiot Hickman.
The numbers were impressive that season for Shaquille: 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3 blocks per game. But the numbers themselves don't tell the whole story. That was peak Shaq - in his eighthseason in the league, he had the experience and the hunger to be the best. Injury luck was also a factor and everything lined up for one of the most dominant performances in basketball history. To end any discussion - Scottie Pippen said he was one of the few players he feared.
Then 99% of the media voted for Shaq, except Fred Hickman. Hickman decided Allen Iverson deserved the MVP that year. AI had a great season as well: 28.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals a game. But for anyone with two eyes, this was the wrong call.
Shaq was asked about this on "">Fair Game" and even before the question was finished he started to answer:
"Fred idiot Hickman. I hate him. I hate him. ... There's nothing to apologize for, cause he destroyed history by being an ass****"
This should take nothing away from Steph Curry's unanimous MVP season, but just keep in mind Shaq was supposed to be the first guy to do it. Shaq is still mad about it, understandably so, but the way fans reacted got out of hand. Hickman got death threats in the aftermath of the vote. He was surprised he was the only one and didn't expect things to develop like that. (via LA Times):
“I certainly didn’t mean to be the lone one,” said Hickman. “I picked the guy who was the most valuable to his team. Philadelphia without Iverson was a CBA team, and if the Lakers didn’t have Shaq, they would have still been a pretty good team.”
Hickman's explanation is the most extreme scenario of the fact that "valuable" can be defined in many ways. This wasn't the only controversial MVP decision in the last few decades, but all of them are caused by the vagueness of the term.