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Shaquille O'Neal talks about why he hated playing against Bryant Reeves, a.k.a. Big Country

Shaquille O'Neal Bryant Reeves

A surprising answer from Shaq on who was on the toughest matchups for him

During their appearance on the show “Open Court,” the players discussed the players they hated playing against, and Shaquille O’Neal surprisingly said Big Country was that player for him. Today, most NBA fans don’t know about Bryant Reeves, a.k.a. Big Country. Those who watched the NBA in the mid to late 90’s remember him pretty well because of his uncanny 7’0″, 280 pounds appearance, but he was a skilled center capable of getting 15-20 points and ten rebounds against every team in the league.

Shaq said he disliked Reeves’s ability to shoot from fifteen feet, which meant he had to stay away from the basket, and his rim-protecting ability was no longer in play. On top of that, Shaq thinks Reeves had the ugliest looking shot in the NBA, which frustrated him even more, but he was highly skilled and had a good repertoire of moves on offense.

“Big Country. Guards that don’t play defense always say to bigs to show up. Big Country was fifteen feet away, and I would have to rotate back. He had the ugliest Duckworth one hand jumper. He would shot it, and it would always go in. At the halftime, I am looking at the stats, Shaq has 15 and Big Country 26 points.”

Shaquille O'Neal, via Open Court

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Bryant Reeves played only six seasons in the NBA and all for the Vancouver Grizzlies. During the 1997-98 season, he even averaged a solid 16 points and eight rebounds per game, shooting 46 percent from the field. His career was later plagued by injuries, primarily because of his inability to stay in shape. He gained many pounds, and after having chronic back pain, he decided to retire from the NBA just before the team moved to Memphis.

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