Rookie Shaq talks about his toughest match-ups and trash-talk
ICONIC INTERVIEW

Rookie Shaq talks about his toughest match-ups and trash-talk

The year is 1992; big men still dominate the league, and naturally, a young center named Shaquille O’Neal is about to get selected as the no. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Not to say I wouldn’t pick him first today, but with the league evolving to small-ball, fast pace, and everyone becoming a 3-point specialist — who knows what would happen. Anyway, back to young Shaq.

Diesel came in with big expectations, and it’s safe to say he lived up to them immediately, as well as throughout his entire Hall-of-Fame career. He took the league by storm during his rookie campaign year by averaging 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and this was more than enough for people to notice and start making gameplans specifically for the young fella.

Today, he’s an invaluable member of Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith. Back then, he was a 20-year-old phenom playing basketball, about to get interviewed by an already seasoned NBA host Ernie Johnson.

EJ talked about matchups and asked about Shaq’s nemesis;

Who is the toughest guy on you, defends you the toughest, and is the toughest for you to defend?

Ernie Johnson

Probably one of the two best centers in the league, that’s Hakeem and Patrick. I haven’t played with David yet.

Shaquille O’Neal

Ernie briefly touched upon trash talk and asked Shaq, who was the worst trash-talker he went head to head with.

The guy from New York, what’s the name, Oakley.

Shaquille O’Neal

Just a great moment seeing Ernie interview the young buck, who knew that two decades later, they would co-host the best show on television.