Shaquille O’Neal was one of the best centers of all time. As a matter of fact, he was the most dominant force in the modern-day era on both ends of the floor. Shaq was just bigger, stronger, and more imposing than any defender on the court. He was also very mobile and was able to run the floor and showcase some nice handles as well.
Even with all the size and strength, Shaq had an excellent go-to move when the offense breaks down and it was his jump-hook. He was the master of positioning himself in the paint and dominating from the inside. He was always a driving force for each of his four NBA Championships.
Shaq also had the luxury of playing with some NBA greats. He has played with many Hall-of-Fame players, but a select few created very memorable moments alongside the big giant. Here are the 5 greatest teammates that Shaq has played with for multiple years.
5. Steve Nash
With an aging Nash and O’Neal, the Suns were actually very competitive. Nash was still a phenomenal playmaker, and Shaq was a revolution thanks to an excellent Phoenix medical staff.
They were able to manage Shaq’s aging body well, giving him the energy to produce a fantastic All-Star season where he averaged around 18 and 8. Steve Nash was a big part of that, by focusing their offense on the big man and playing through him. Nash is one of the best teammates ever and was a great player alongside Shaquille.
4. LeBron James
LeBron on his own would be easily ranked on this list. It is just the fact that Shaq played with him for only one season before each of them departed for greener pastures. Shaq was also past his prime, and they did not accomplish anything together- losing in the second round of the Playoffs.
If LeBron and Shaq would have played longer together, and with Shaq in his earlier days, who knows what would have happened. Shaq, in his first season with LeBron, averaged 12 points and almost 7 rebounds a game. Needless to say, Shaq was close to retirement here and was not able to help LeBron James when they pushed for a championship. Nonetheless, LeBron is one of Shaq’s greatest teammates.
3. Penny Hardaway
Even though Penny is not better than LeBron as a player, Penny played with Shaq much longer and the pair ended up in the NBA Finals together. Penny is one of Shaq’s most iconic teammates, and it was as if they were meant to play with each other.
Hardaway was a very large point guard, standing 6’7”, and had a complete arsenal of offensive and playmaking abilities to compliment Shaq’s dominating inside presence. They would hurt teams from the outside, and from the inside, and even on the break. Penny could have been one of the all-time greats if not for injuries, but he still managed to produce iconic moments with Shaquille O’Neal.
2. Dwyane Wade
Wade produced one of the greatest NBA Finals performances in 2006 and was easily the best player for the Miami Heat’s NBA Championship that featured Shaq as the second star. While Wade was playing at an extraordinary level, he would not have won without Shaquille O’Neal- and vice-versa.
Shaq, although no longer in his prime, was still a massive problem for opponents by posting 20 points and 9 rebounds per game in their championship season. Shaq was still a double-double threat and took a lot of the defensive attention from opponents. He patrolled the paint enough for Wade to completely take over the opposition, and lead them to an NBA title. For his championship efforts, Wade sits firmly at number two.
1. Kobe Bryant
Without any doubt, Kobe Bryant is Shaq’s greatest teammate. Kobe and Shaq were quite possibly the greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history, with their ability to overwhelm the opposition from the inside and out. Shaq was in his prime, and at his most dominate. Kobe was a young lion, who was quickly developing as a Top 2 player in the league.
Shaq and Kobe just had too much talent and paired with Phil Jackson, they were able to 3-peat and produce one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. If they had stayed together, it would not be outwardly to assume that they would have won at least 6 championships together. They each went their separate ways and won titles apart. Nonetheless, Kobe will forever be known as Shaq’s greatest teammate and also quite possibly the greatest “What-If” story had they stayed together.