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Shaquille O'Neal Tells The Story Of Almost Being Dunked On By Michael Jordan: "I Knew Then Why He Was The Best Player In The Game..."

Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan

As a 7-1, 300 pound machine, Shaquille O'Neal didn't often see the wrong side of a poster.

But back in the 90s, O'Neal nearly experienced it first-hand during a game against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, when Shaq was issued a flagrant for a hard foul on the NBA superstar.

O'Neal recently told the story and explained why what came after it helped him realize just how good the Bulls legend was.

"I take pride in never being dunked on. In 19 years I can probably say I've probably only been dunked on three or four times," Shaq said, via NBA.com (start at 3:50). "But his Airness Micheal Jordan came baseline one time and tried to dunk on me and it hurt my arm but I had to flagrant foul him and lay him out. And when I went to shake his hand to pick him up he said 'don't ever help nobody up' and he bounced back up. And I knew then why he was the best player in the game. It resonated with me later because Pat Riley once told me 'you show other players respect by showing them none.' And Michael Jordan was like 'yes we're friends, we're fraternity brothers, we're on different teams. But when we're on this court, I don't know you Shaq."

Not everyone sees Jordan in the same light, but it's impossible to deny the power of his dedication and approach to the game. It only enhanced what he was able to do on the floor.

To this day, MJ's killer mentality is often cited as an example of the mindset every athlete should have.

Regarding Shaq, his encounters with MJ were somewhat limited on the court. He caught him at the trial end of his career. Still, Jordan did almost dunk on him again in the 1995 playoffs.

It should be no surprise that Shaq has already gone on record to declare Michael as the GOAT. He, like so many others, witnessed first-hand how much his talent was complimented by his mindset and work ethic.

While Jordan has long been retired from the game, tales of his amazing personality and leadership help keep his legacy fresh in the minds and hearts of the NBA community.