Skip to main content

Dennis Rodman Reveals Why He Has Beef With Shaquille O'Neal: "He Has A Problem With Me Because I’m The Only Guy Who Can Hold Him Down.”

Dennis Rodman Reveals Why He Has Beef With Shaquille O'Neal: "He Has A Problem With Me Because I’m The Only Guy Who Can Hold Him Down.”

Dennis Rodman was a key player for the 90s Bulls. At the height of his powers, he was among the best bigs in basketball, with a certain level of strength and energy that was absolutely unmatched -- especially on the defensive end.

His play is still remembered and cherished by fans today, but that's not to say that everyone appreciated it at the time.

In fact, according to the 2x All-Star himself, his mastery of defense made him a lot of enemies around the association, including former Lakers big man Shaquille O'Neal.

“Shaq has a problem with me. Because, you know, I’m probably the only guy who could hold him down,” Rodman said. "You know, like just three or four-point five-point stuff. Like gotta add up."

Alonzo Mourning was another name he mentioned as someone who has a problem with him.

"But Alonzo Mourning just literally personally just hate me. Because, you know, I just get in his head all the time, stuff like that. He’s stronger and stuff like that but I didn't worry about that."

Those are big claims by Rodman, but they don't really hold up. While Dennis is 13-3 against O'Neal (which includes a 4-0 record in the playoffs), Shaq definitely had his way more often than not. Over the 16 games played, Shaq averaged 26.8 points per game while Rodman averaged just 7.5.

Despite the numbers, Rodman did have some dominant stretches against the Diesel. 

Back in 1996, Rodman once held Shaq to 4 points in the second half after he dropped 23 points in the first two quarters. Naturally, the Bulls ended up winning the game in overtime.

Dennis Rodman's physical and theatrical approach to defense, which helped take Shaquille O'Neal out of last spring's Eastern Conference Finals, frustrated the All-Star center again Tuesday when Rodman's Chicago Bulls rallied for a 129-123 overtime victory over O'Neal's Lakers.

"Dennis thought he could handle Shaq straight up,'' Jackson explained.

Regarding the supposed beef between the two players, nobody really knows how serious it is. While things were no doubt intense between them back in the day, it's been years since we've seen any real interaction.

Nevertheless, it's interesting to look back on their matchups. As two of the best and most memorable bigs in basketball history, it's no surprise that they remain the subject of conversation years after their retirement.