“Steve has twice as many as you do,” said Ernie to Shaq, “and you’ll never catch him.”
Steve Nash’s back-to-back MVPs continue to be O’Neals Achilles heel, and the big guy wastes no opportunity to publicize his peeve. The latest episode of Inside the NBA was no different.
Shaq went face to face with the one who deprived him of the ’05 MVP trophy and came up with another tongue-in-cheek argument. “If you’re at your house, can you show me one of those MVP trophies that you stole from me?” said O’Neal to a Hall of Fame point guard. Nash responded with a simple “if you can’t make a free throw down the stretch, it’s hard to get an MVP buddy.”
It’s all fun and jokes until you say it one time too many. With Shaq, that ship sailed a long time ago. The guy is obviously salty about Nash winning MVP over him, and acting it out as a joke doesn’t conceal it a bit.
A case could’ve been made for O’Neal to win the ’05 MVP trophy. He put up 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 60 percent from the field while finishing second in the league with a PER of 27. Shaq was Miami’s second-leading scorer behind only Dwyane Wade, as the duo led the Heat to 59 wins and a number one seed in the East. It was enough for Diesel to finish second in the MVP voting with a total of 1,032 points – 34 shy of Steve Nash.
Steve led the Phoenix Suns to league-leading 62 wins, after accumulating only 29 wins the year before which is the third greatest turnaround in NBA history. The addition of Nash and coach Mike D’Antoni propelled the 14th seeded Suns into title contention, as the 6-3 point guard orchestrated one of the all-time great offensive machinery. He led the NBA in assists with 11.5, while putting up 15.5 points on .502/.431/.887 shooting splits.
When you account for how big of a turnaround Phoenix made, and how big of an impact Nash had on it, it’s no wonder the Suns’ point guard came out on top in what was at the time the fourth-closest voting margin since media began voting on this award in ’81.
It was a close call, no doubt about it, but siding with newly signed Brooklyn Nets’ coach was the right thing to do. So there’s no need for Shaq to be salty; he didn’t have his MVP trophy stolen. He simply lost it to a better ’05 NBA performer.