Skip to main content

Shaquille O'Neal Reveals His Secret Behind His Unprecedented Success In The League: "The Day I Stopped Worrying About Stats Is The Day I Started Winning"

Shaquille O'Neal Reveals His Secret Behind His Unprecedented Success In The League: "The Day I Stopped Worrying About Stats Is The Day I Started Winning"

Shaquille O'Neal was one of the most dominant players to have ever played the game of basketball. His run through the late-90s and early-00s is absolutely legendary, as he became the centerpiece of a dynastic Los Angeles Lakers squad and then won another championship in Miami soon after that. 

Shaq also came very close to being voted the unanimous MVP of the league in 2000, but instead he had to settle with 99 out of 100 first-place votes. His numbers have always been magnificent, but there is a reason that Shaq didn't become a winner until the calendar switched on over to the new millennium, despite being dominant in the 90s.

While still with the Orlando Magic and in his early years with the Lakers, Shaq was self-admittedly selfish and looking to pad his numbers. However, the seasoned big-man recently tweeted out that he had to stop caring about his stats to make sure he can play winning basketball.

Shaq did have the luxury of not chasing stats and still being a winner, as many players put up incredible statistics by virtue of having nobody else to contribute at a high level. We have seen this recently from Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic, as their great statistical performances usually have come from team necessity.

For many role-players, their contracts are determined based on hitting certain statistical metrics that they need to chase to ensure they make all their financial incentives or even trigger extensions to make sure they still have a place in the league. Some players have to chase certain stats, and that will never stop. We saw Jrue Holiday play less than a minute in a game to chase a stat. 

A balance between hunting for stats and playing winning basketball can easily be found, as Shaq found it himself during his three-peat years. He sacrificed numbers in 2006 because he knew Dwyane Wade was going to get those. 

Shaq's career is an example of how players can put up their big numbers in a championship win while also being able to play the role of a secondary star to someone else to have the best chance to win. He did it as #1 in LA and #2 in Miami.