Shaquille O’Neal joined Ariel Helwani on ESPN’s Instagram Live to talk about his personal and business life. Shaq, who is always open for a good conversation mixed up with a few jokes, expressed his love for MMA, his DJ career, but also NBA and the situation the league is currently in with the coronavirus lockdown.
Since the new documentary ‘The Last Dance’ is coming out on April 19th, Shaq talked about the potential finals matchup that never happened that year, but everyone expected. Shaq was leading the Lakers alongside young Kobe Bryant and was one of the favorites to make it out of the western conference, but the experienced Utah Jazz swept them in the series. Shaq is positive they would have had a better chance against the Bulls because there was no one on that squad who could’ve guarded him.
“I would’ve killed Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, [Bill] Cartwright,”
Shaq was a poor free-throw shooter, which in his mind would potentially decide the series. He is convinced they would intentionally send him to the line, and if he’s feeling good from the charity stripe, the Lakers would be in an excellent position to win the series.
“The factor is me and my free-throw shooting. He would’ve tried the Hack-a-Shaq thing. I still would average like 28, 29, but the key would’ve been free throws. With me, it’s always 50-50. If I would’ve been on, we win. If I would’ve been off, we lose.”
In 1998, the Lakers played twice against the Bulls in the regular season, with both teams winning one game. It’s important to mention the Lakers lost that one game playing without Shaq while in the second game, they won by 25 points with Shaq putting up big numbers. Phil Jackson also later admitted the Bulls wouldn’t be able to stop Shaq, mainly because they weren’t big fans of double-teaming on defense.