Shaquille O'Neal is widely recognized as one of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game. And while O'Neal achieved unbelievable successes over his lengthy career, it was actually the success of others before him that inspired.
According to the Lakers legend, All-Time greats like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pushed him towards the same level of greatness.
“It’s all about dreaming. As a youngster, I always used to watch the Lakers and Magic Johnson, Kareem, and the Celtics and the Pistons. I always said ‘If I ever get to that level, I want to be recognized as a champion.’
“I met those guys when I was young and they were, of course, getting older.The people treated them like Gods. And I was like, ‘You know, I want this type of treatment’. So, it took me a while to get there. But once we got the blueprints, Kobe and myself, plus we were playing with Phil, it was easy for us. We were able to win three in a row.”
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The level of awe and wonder guys like Magic and Kareem created is undeniable. At the height of their careers, they controlled the NBA and were some of the biggest faces in the world.
An obvious student of the game, it's no surprise O'Neal took after them. Some would say he has even surpassed them.
Of course, that notion is still very much up for debate...