Every basketball fan has their 'Mount Rushmore' of basketball greats. Players like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and others are some popular names, who are usually always at or near the top of everyone's list.
In a recent interview, JaVale McGee provided his 'Mount Rushmore' of players, and it's definitely worth talking about.
Unsurprisingly, he picked Kareem and Jordan, who are honestly must-haves.
But he also picked Shaq and Allen Iverson.
Allen Iverson is widely regarded as one of the greatest scorers ever, but it's rare that he's mentioned in the same air as MJ and Kareem. With his small size, defensive deficiencies, and Championship-less resume, there are a lot of reasons McGee's choice is controversial.
Perhaps even more surprising, though, is his selection of Shaquille O'Neal. Unless you're new to the NBA, you're no stranger to the complicated history between Shaq and McGee.
Over the years, JaVale has been the "star" of "Shaqtin' A Fool," for his rather hilarious on-court blunders. JaVale recently shared how O'Neal's constant bullying impacted his career.
"The thing about that whole Shaqtin’ a Fool era of when I was on there is I didn’t realize what it was doing to my career until I started to move on to other teams," said McGee. "And I would talk to other coaches and middle of the year they’d be like, ‘I’ve always seen that Shaqtin’ A Fool stuff and had a different mental of you and I never knew like you’re a smart kid. You’re extremely vocal. You’re a great basketball player.’
It was slowly chipping away at my reputation. As a young 24-year-old athletic basketball player, young, excited. It was just slowly chipping away."
It's fair to say that Shaq almost ruined McGee's career. Still, JaVale has the guy ranked as one of the top 4 players in basketball history.
Sometimes, no matter the history, you just have to acknowledge and recognize greatness, especially for a 15x All-Star, Hall-of-Famer, and 4x NBA Champion.