Shaquille O’Neal revealed why he didn’t win a ring with the Orlando Magic during the mid-90s, as the Florida team was one of the most talented squads in the league during their best days. O’Neal alongside Penny Hardaway created a super duo that was set to rule the league, but their youth and lack of experience didn’t help them.
Right now Shaq is one of the most discussed topics in the NBA following his back and forth with former teammate Kobe Bryant, as well as Dwight Howard.
Back in April, during an interview with Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist, the big man reflected on his time with the Magic, claiming that if he wasn’t for a personal rule he broke, he and his team would have won everything during the 1994/95 NBA season.
“I broke a rule,” he said. “You celebrated too early. Because we beat Michael Jordan. Which nobody has ever done. Who’s the last guy to beat Michael Jordan in the playoffs? Nobody. So we beat him, I’m partying like a mug, ‘cause in my mind, I already had the championship won. (…) I was already celebrating, we already had a little mini parade at Disney and I was like, ‘we’re going to be these dudes in six’ and then Hakeem put it on me. But, before you succeed you must first land, so what that taught me was, if I ever get back to the Finals, nobody will ever beat me again.”
That 1994/95 season was one to remember for the Magic, who had a great journey to the Finals, but as O’Neal said, early celebration disrupted all their plans of becoming NBA champions just a couple of years after the franchise was created.
Luckily for Shaq, he would go to win four titles throughout his career, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat. Many people wonder what would have happened if that Magic team didn’t break down so fast.