Shaquille O’Neal recently made a guest appearance on the Full Send podcast, where he talked about several things from his NBA career, private and business life. Shaq is one of the most dominant players in NBA history, winning numerous individual and team accolades in his 19-year-long career. He is also an accomplished businessman, but one of the things he still regrets the most is not winning a championship with the Orlando Magic.
When the Magic drafted Shaq from LSU, he immediately established himself as a superstar, and with Penny Hardaway, they were one of the most exciting young duos in NBA history. Even though they were both young, it didn’t take them long to impact a very competitive eastern conference. It seemed they are the next best thing in basketball after beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1995 Playoffs. Jordan returned from retirement and was far from his former self, but Shaq still believes the Magic did a remarkable thing when they beat the Bulls that year.
I take pride in being the last guy to beat Michael Jordan in a playoff situation. Everybody is going to say that he came back from baseball, but my thing is that if you step on that court and I know he has the same mentality if you are on that court, that means you are ready to go. The next year they came back, demolished us, and made sure we didn’t win a game. I’m sure he was rusty when he came back, but he didn’t suck.Shaquille O’Neal, via FULL SEND Podcast Clips
That Orlando Magic squad was super exciting with players that immediately clicked together as a team even though they were tremendous individuals. Shaq is still convinced the Magic could have won at least one championship if they stayed longer together as a team. Unfortunately for their fans, the management did a poor job of giving Shaq the right offer, who expected more money since he was already one of the best players in the NBA.
We definitely could have got one. The thing in Orlando was that when you are young and silly, you chase useless titles. When I got there, I was the man, but when Penny got there, he thought he was the man. We were fighting over bullshit and useless titles that didn’t make sense. The year before I left, Penny sat out because he wanted to get more money which is fine with me. I know if you get 100 million, and no disrespect to you, but I have to get 150 million. They gave it to him, but when it was time for me to get my money, they disappeared.Shaquille O’Neal, via FULL SEND Podcast Clips
Even though he still has regrets regarding his day with the Orlando Magic and not giving them a championship, Shaq considers his day with the Lakers obviously the best time in his career, filled with championships and dominance rarely seen in NBA history.
The three-peat years and when we almost got number four, but we lost to Detroit. Those are my best years.Shaquille O’Neal, via FULL SEND Podcast Clips