LeBron James has played with several amazing players in his career. From Dwyane Wade to Anthony Davis, LBJ has shared the court with these stars and has often delivered the results that fans had expected from the King. But before winning four NBA championships in his career, James struggled with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Although he was not at fault if anything he had done more than enough. At the end of the day, the supporting cast around him was never up to the mark. To make sure James doesn't leave the Cavs, the organization paired him with Shaquille O'Neal in 2009.
On paper, it sounded like a scary duo, but by that time, Shaq was out of his prime. He was a shell of himself and was at best an average teammate for LeBron. Despite that, LBJ once again gave his best with the newly formed duo and the Cavaliers finished with the top seed in the East. The Cavs still failed to win the championship and were eliminated in the Eastern Semis. The reason? Well, Shaq revealed it in 2016 via Yahoo Sports.
"We were No. 1; everything was good. I knew my role: just to back [LeBron] up. If he looks to me, I score. If not, set picks, get him open, rebound, knock other players on their ass. I knew my role. We were in first. We were playing against Boston, and Big Baby, who could never stop me, did hack-a-Shaq. And as soon as I grabbed the ball, I couldn’t feel my thumb; I had that injury before; I knew my hand was broke.”
O'Neal further continued, "So, now when your hand is broke, you’re out four weeks; there’s nothing you can do. Did cardio, I ate right, I went to the gym … I was there every night, running the treadmill. And then when I came back to play, I’m like, ‘I’m in people shape, but I’m not in basketball shape,’ and we could just never get it going again.”
If Shaq was never injured, maybe the Cavs would have won the 2010 NBA championship. That would have changed the entire trajectory of James' career. He might have stayed with the Cavaliers and the Big 3 of the Miami Heat would have never happened.
Whatever be the case, the truth is James has four rings right now and will be hoping to get no. 5 before he retires. It will certainly help him in pushing his case to be considered the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT).
Credit for the idea: Sports Casting