Skip to main content

Shaq O'Neal On Michael Jordan: 'I Was Terrified Of Jordan. As A Kid You're Watching A God, Now You're On The Same Court As God.'

(via Sporx)

(via Sporx)

Some people say you should never meet your idols, but sometimes that is an impossible mission. It happened to Shaquille O’Neal, who revealed how it felt to play against Michael Jordan for the first time.

O’Neal, a 7-foot specimen, described he was ‘terrified’ of Michael Jordan when they saw each other on the court for the first time.

"First time I played [Michael] Jordan, I was terrified," O'Neal said while appearing on Wednesday's episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

"I was terrified and happy at the same time. Happy because as a kid, me and my friends were watching this guy. He has his own shoe, he won the dunk contest, he could fly. But then, when I got in the game and saw him do his first move and he hit his shot and he just hit like four or five shots in a row, I was like, 'Wow.' All this stuff I saw on TV, it's real life. I was terrified."

He said the same while talking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, raising the bar and calling Jordan a ‘god’.

“As a kid it’s like you’re watching a God. Now you’re on the same court with God. All the stuff he was doing when I was a kid, it is true. He can fly, he can bump you in the air and still be in the air when you come down, laying it up,” he said.

It is completely normal to feel that way when meeting one of your personal idols, but for O’Neal, the NBA wasn’t the best stage to do so. He then said he felt better when he blocked one of Jordan’s shots and everything came back to normal.

We’ve learned a lot about what current and former NBA players thought the first time they met MJ in recent hours. Shaq’s testimony is great, as it shows how impactful Jordan was in the game, even for the players that later became legends, too.