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Shaquille O'Neal Said Tim Duncan Was The Only Big Man He Could Never Break: "Whenever I Run Into A Tim Duncan Fan Who Will Say Tim Duncan Is The GOAT, I Won't Disagree With Him."

Shaquille O'Neal Said Tim Duncan Was The Only Big Man He Could Never Break: "Whenever I Run Into A Tim Duncan Fan Who Will Say Tim Duncan Is The GOAT, I Won't Disagree With Him."

Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan were as different as two NBA superstars can be. Both were big men who dominated inside, but that's where the similarities ended. While Shaq was brash, larger-than-life, and outspoken, Duncan was reserved, humble, and coachable. The two played for the most successful franchises of the 2000s, Shaq for the Los Angeles Lakers and Duncan for the San Antonio Spurs. 

O'Neal has 4 rings to Duncan's 5, but he dominated for 3 straight seasons while Tim's success was more spread out. The Spurs won 5 rings in 15 years, while Shaq's 4 came in 6. And the Big Aristotle never backed down from any of his stellar opponents in that time; he dominated all of them without much issue. 

Except for Tim Duncan, as Shaq detailed in his autobiography, Shaq Uncut: My Story. The Lakers and Spurs had quite the rivalry when both big men were in their primes, winning 6 out of 7 championships between the two franchises following the Bulls' dynasty's end. And Shaq's respect for Duncan in that time grew so much that he wrote that he doesn't disagree with people that suggest Duncan is the GOAT.

“The Spurs won because of Tim Duncan, a guy I could never break. I could talk trash to Patrick Ewing, get in David Robinson’s face, get a rise out of Alonzo Mourning, but when I went at Tim he’d look at me like he was bored. Whenever I run into a Tim Duncan fan who will claim Tim Duncan is the GOAT, I won’t disagree with him."

Duncan and Shaq may be extremely different, but there clearly was a lot of mutual respect between the two NBA icons. Their games and personalities differed vastly from one another, but no players can claim that they ever consistently got the best of either. It was truly a different but fun era of NBA basketball.