The lack of old school centers has been a topic for discussion for quite some time now, and ESPN did an exclusive interview with Shaquille O’Neal about it. Trends in the NBA have changed, and more big guys score their baskets from outside the post and rely more than ever before on their jump shot. Shaq was probably one of the most dominant centers in NBA history, believes players should turn more to playing in the post because those are high percentage shots.
Shaq played in an era when most of the teams competing for a championship had a dominant center on their team. He often faced against David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and other big guys who were both talented and very physical. Shaq thinks physicality is lacking in today’s NBA, and on top of that, he would thrive big time if playing against teams in the NBA today.
“I would love to play in this game because it’s less physical. I would bring a little more physicality. I would bring my length, my athleticism, and I would be like the Greek Freak. So before you say Shaq can’t play in this era today, I’m already playing. I am Giannis Antetokoounpo.”
Comparison Shaq made between him, and Giannis is entirely valid if you observe the impact they both have on the game. Giannis is even putting up similar numbers this season to Shaq’s MVP season back in 2000. Interestingly enough, that was the last season a center won the regular-season MVP award. His mentality is also similar because he recently said he plans to play even more physical against his opponents. That means the dominant big men haven’t gone extinct; they just evolved differently.