Recently, there has been a lot of debate surrounding Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal. Two players who dominated their respective eras, Jordan and Shaq have faced off against each other before and played under the Phil Jackson and three-peated.
In fact, Jordan and Shaq are the only two players in NBA history that won 3 consecutive NBA Championships and Finals MVP titles. MJ and the Diesel were truly transcendent players, and two of the last players to ever win 3 consecutive NBA championships.
Jordan and O'Neal even faced off against each other in the NBA Playoffs on two occasions. In 1995, when Michael Jordan was hot off the heels of a return to basketball, he and the Bulls fell to Shaq and the Orlando Magic. The Magic were the only team in the NBA to beat Michael Jordan in a playoff series during the 90s.
The next year, Jordan and the Bulls came back and swept the Magic in the playoffs en route to the NBA Finals, where they beat the Seattle Supersonics to win the NBA championship, the win that began their second three-peat. But O'Neal is still proud of being the last one of the last people to beat Michael Jordan in a playoff series.
The discussion recently, however, has been about how a Jordan-Shaq duo would do. Recently, former Bulls star Toni Kukoc came out and said a Jordan-Shaq duo would create the greatest line-up of all time.
But one person doesn't seem to agree. During yesterday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe said that he doesn't think a Shaq-Jordan duo would work, because of ego issues and questions surrounding whose team it is.
Sharpe added that he would rather have a duo of Kevin Durant and LeBron James, saying that they would work together better than Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal would.
“In that scenario, Shaq would have to join Jordan’s team. Jordan has never ever had a player that can challenge him as far as greatness. Scottie Pippen was perfectly content playing Robin, being the second-best player, and that’s what he was. No one else ever came there. And we saw Shaq, once Kobe started to challenge him for greatness on that team, we saw the friction that it created. I believe in that scenario, Shaq would have had to be somewhere first and Jordan would have had to join him. Because Jordan, I just don’t see how it’d work… We’re talking about the early 90s. I just don’t see how it works. For me, give me LeBron and KD. Because both of those guys can play with anybody else, and it does not matter. I’ve seen KD play with 3 different systems with different types of players and it didn’t matter. I’ve seen LeBron make it work with everybody that he’s been around. They’ll play off each other, and it really doesn’t matter.”
Those comments were quickly rubbished by his co-host Skip Bayless, who went on to wax lyrical about a potential duo of Jordan and Shaq. Sharpe did make some strong points, especially given the personalities of MJ and O'Neal during their playing days.
And while a duo of LeBron James and Kevin Durant would be spectacular to watch, we can never really know the answer to which duo is better unless we can see all 4 players in a 2 vs. 2 matchup in their respective primes.