Why Shaquille O’Neal was confident he’d win his fifth ring with LeBron James

Why Shaquille O’Neal was confident he’d win his fifth ring with LeBron James

During his illustrious NBA career, Shaquille O’Neal teamed up with some of the greatest players of all time. His most prolific one was with Kobe Bryant whom he won three titles with. The second was with Dwyane Wade in Miami, where he snagged his fourth title. It was a critical ring for Shaq. With it, O’Neal proved that not only could he win without Kobe, but it showed he knew how to co-exist with ball-dominant stars. 

That ring served as Shaq’s lifeline in the twilight of his career. Even in old age, teams still wanted his services. At 37-years-old, O’Neil teamed up with a young LeBron James in Cleveland and even came up with his motto, “Win a Ring for the King.”

The 2009-10 NBA season turned out well for Shaq and the Cavaliers. They notched a 61-21 win-loss record for no.1 in the Eastern Conference. From the looks of it, Shaq was about to deliver on his promise, but as luck would have it, the Diesel suffered an injury that would cause him to miss several games and affect his performance.

“We were in 1st place. Big Baby breaks my hand and I had to sit out 5 weeks late in the year…I know for a fact if I was healthy, we would have gotten it done that year and won a ring.”

Shaquille O’Neal, Ballislife

To recall, the Cavaliers got booted out in six games by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. This might be one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history. If Shaq had won that ring, there would be no argument that he is the greatest big man of all time and would therefore be in the conversation for the GOAT.

From another perspective, if the Cavaliers did win the title, then LeBron would have stayed with them for good. In the summer of 2010, James shared his intent to “take his talents to South Beach.” It was an event that changed the landscape of the NBA forever. 

After James decided to form a superteam, other NBA stars would follow suit. Now, there are a couple of teams with more than two stars on their roster. Blame LeBron all you want for this radical evolution. But the intricacies of history reveal that it might be Glen Davis’ fault all along.