Shaquille O'Neal was one of the most dominant players the NBA has ever seen. That is a great title to have but he had to work hard and prove himself, again and again, to earn that status among centers.
Things weren't that way when he first entered the league. The former Orlando Magic draftee recently revealed he was scared of going against certain players during his active days.
In a recent edition of his 'The Big Podcast,' the four-time NBA champion welcomed Patrick Ewing, revealing that the New York Knicks icon was his idol growing up. Moreover, Shaq admitted that going against Pat was scary for him and going against other players, including Michael Jordan (4:10).
“I mentioned this a couple years a couple months ago about when I was playing against Jordan how terrified I was. There was only a couple players that when I first went up against, I was terrified.
“Patrick Ewing, terrified because I grew up watching him because you know he knows I’m from New Jersey, I had a pair of orange and blue Ewings. I actually was terrified of Mike. Man, I was terrified of getting dunked on by Dominique, and I was terrified of David Robinson.”
Shaq and Ewing had the chance to go at it when they were in the league, having some good duels at the paint. He also faced MJ, giving the Chicago Bulls legend a hard time with the Magic and later with the Lakers.
With David Robinson, Shaq lived that big rivalry between the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs that saw these teams going at it in the playoffs.
Shaq retired as a 4-time NBA champion and, again, one of the most dominant centers of all time. Everything started with him being scared of some of the biggest names in the game; he overcame that fear and became the one feared by the young guys.