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Shaquille O'Neal On Playing The Nets In 2002 Finals: “It Was Boring.”

Shaquille O'Neal On Playing The Nets In 2002 Finals: “It Was Boring.”

The NBA Finals is probably the most exciting time of the season. It's the epic conclusion of a months-long saga, where the stakes are highest and the two best teams in the world battle it out for the ultimate prize.

Most of the time, the fans are buzzing, the arenas are raging, and the players are absolutely pumped for the intensity and excitement of the moment.

If you ask Shaquille O'Neal, though, some Finals series are better than others.

Speaking to Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson, O'Neal revealed his feelings on his '02 Finals against the Nets:

“It was boring. I actually got mad when we were playing in Jersey. You think Todd McCollough is going to stop me at the crib in Jersey in front of my grandma and grandpa?….Sheeeeeit! No. Stop it.” 

If you remember, the Lakers went into the 2002 playoffs having won back-to-back Championships. Shaq and Kobe, who led the Lakers to a 58-24 record that season, started to develop some relationship problems at this point, and tensions were rising in the locker room.

After a controversial and hard-fought battle with the Kings in the Conference Finals, they went up against a Nets team that was very much in over their heads.

Before the '02 season, New Jersey had endured a rough stretch, going 73–141 over three seasons. Following a series of praise-worthy moves put them back on the map, they squeaked into the Finals after barely beating the Pacers, Hornets, and Celtics in the East bracket.

The Lakers won in a 4-game sweep, with only two of the four games being within a 5 point difference.

It certainly wasn't the most competitive matchup, and definitely not the one people were expecting at the time. Comparatively, the series can definitely be called forgettable.

While the Nets would return to the Finals the following season, they would again come up short, losing in six games to the Spurs.