There is probably no more exciting, unique, and rare sequence in basketball than the basket breaking or shattering. Back in the days, shattered backboards were a bit more common due to them being made out of glass. But in the modern era, baskets have been made more robust than ever, with breakaway rims and unbreakable backboards. But that didn’t stop Shaquille O’Neal from taking down the whole construction of the basket numerous times, most notably twice in the NBA.
Shaq’s impeccable physical stature of 7’2” and 325 lbs made him one of the most physically dominant forces in NBA history, using his size to dominate and throw down numerous monster dunks. Shaq loved to throw it down with two hands and hang on the rim, making the whole basket shake for its life and the crowd going wild. That is precisely why he managed to break it so many times.
But to pull off something like that, Shaq had to have extra motivation to take it up a notch when dunking the ball. O’Neil made a guest appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes and talked about why he wanted to tear the rims and brake backboards:
“It was all being mad at my dad for punching me in my face that one day…Because I knew if I dunked hard, I got your attention. Especially if you’re big and strong and I go through you and throw it down. Now I got your attention. Now it’s going to be easier for me the rest of my career, so I just wanted to really get your attention, and I know they was going to show it on ESPN, and no other big guy was doing that. Like I had to take pride in being different. Another thing I was trying to do is get these commercial endorsements. It wasn’t any big guys doing it.”Shaquille O’Neal, All The Smoke
It seems like Shaq had a couple of reasons for trying to take the rim down, most notably to catch the attention and love from the NBA world. Even though he was young, Shaq had a business mind even back then, knowing those types of stunts will bring him numerous endorsements and commercials. One of the best entertainers and most successful businessmen in NBA history, playing the game on and off the court from day 1.