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Shaquille O'Neal Said He Wanted To Be Like Patrick Ewing: "He Was The First Guy When I Played Against Him I Was Actually Intimidated.”

Shaquille O'Neal Said He Wanted To Be Like Patrick Ewing: "He Was The First Guy When I Played Against Him I Was Actually Intimidated.”

49-year-old Shaquille O'Neal is widely recognized as one of the greatest bigs in NBA history. As a 15x All-Star, 4x NBA Champ, and first-ballot Hall of Famer, his career is unmatched in terms of accolades and personal achievements.

Growing up, the basketball legend idolized many different players, including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain.

Out of them all, however, his true inspiration came from Patrick Ewing. In a recent interview, O'Neal explained his love for the former Knicks star.

“My father always said I’m gonna make you like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and Wilt Chamberlain. And as a youongster I used to pratice all thesse old school moves. And then one day I was watching Patrick Ewing at Georgetown. Big guy, mean, physical, throwing people around. I said dad I want to be like that and he said 'I know, that's why I got you watching the game.' … So I’m watching Patrick Ewing, he wore #33, as I became better I wanted to be like Patrick Ewing. He was the first guy when I played against him I was actually intimidated.”

Ewing, a 17-year veteran, was a dominant player for the Knicks. During his best stretch, he averaged 22.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game on 50% shooting.

While he failed to win a Championship, there is no denying his place in NBA history. In fact, according to Ewing himself, he's even good enough to dominate the modern era.

"There's not that many great centers," said Ewing. "I'd be Michael Jordan in this era. It's definitely changed, the way that teams play, the way that everybody spreads the floor. Most big guys, instead of posting up, they want to get out and shoot 3s."

By the time he retired in 2002, Ewing had secured a place as one of the best to ever do it. And while his career often gets overshadowed by some of the other legends, it's clear he was a role model to countless players, including Shaquille O'Neal.

The way he instilled fear into his opponents commanded a certain degree of respect that follows him today.