Shaquille O'Neal is one of the best players to have ever touched the basketball court. There's no doubt that his physicality and athletic prowess allowed him to be dominant near the rim. There was nobody that could guard him 1-on-1 during his prime with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even though Shaquille O'Neal had an outstanding peak, he's barely mentioned in GOAT talks. The players usually considered in that debate are Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant, though sometimes others are mentioned.
It seems as though not being in GOAT talks didn't bother Shaquille O'Neal. When speaking to Taylor Rooks recently, O'Neal revealed that he never actually wanted to be the GOAT, and instead preferred to be in contention as the most dominant player ever.
When I was playing, I didn't want to be the greatest player ever or the best player ever. Y'all pass it around too much. But you know what words you're not passing around? The most dominant ever. It was only one at the time. Now there's two. That's it... I can live in that community. I can live in that residential area.
I don't want to be... man who's the best? Kobe or Bron? Michael? There's too many people. My lane, there's only two people... I will allow you to say Wilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O'Neal is the most dominant ever. I can live with that.
In this interview, Shaquille O'Neal makes sure to pay his respect to Wilt Chamberlain, and he clearly views the former Lakers center as an equal in terms of being the most dominant. Wilt Chamberlain was also a center who put up amazing individual numbers, notably dropping 100 points in a single game.
Shaquille O'Neal is definitely the standard when it comes to being a dominant player, with modern centers like Joel Embiid comparing themselves to him in terms of dominance. Even if he didn't want to be the GOAT, there's definitely an argument that Shaquille O'Neal is a top-5 player ever, and hopefully, he gets more respect in those discussions in the future.