Shaquille O'Neal was a menace on and off the court. On the court, his physical dominance was just so difficult to stop, you would have as much impact on him as a fan in the crowd. And off the court, he would do a lot of trash talking and trolling to get under his opponents' skin.
Perhaps no one experienced this better than Kings' star Vlade Divac. In the 2002 NBA Playoffs, the Sacramento Kings took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. It was a tightly contested series, with the focus on Divac and Shaq's battle. Their dunk exchange below epitomizes just how tough their battle was.
But the Lakers came away victorious in the series, just barely. The Lakers beat the Kings 4-3. And after the series, Shaq, sitting in a bus with his Lakers' teammates, trolled Vlade with his own customized rendition of the theme song from "Cheers", playing on his flip phone as a ringtone (slide 2).
“Winning an NBA championship takes everything you got.
Sacramento, they thought it was their year, but I’m telling you it’s not.
Vlade said we don’t have home court edge, we won’t win.
Vlade, are you stupid, I’ll tell you one time again.
You need to go where they know your name.
We’re the Lakers, we gotta play the game.
You said that we wouldn’t win at your place.
Guess what? Kobe dunked it in your face.
You need to go where people know your name.”
Shaq was clearly having a lot of fun at Vlade's expense. The Kings and the Lakers had a pretty heated rivalry that year, with the Kings even besting the Lakers during the regular season and securing the first seed in the Western Conference, and gaining the home-court advantage.
But Shaq and the Lakers walked away victorious and went on to win their third consecutive NBA championship. The Lakers became the last team to three-peat in the NBA, with no team being able to pull off the feat since. The third title must have felt even better for Shaq, given that he got the better of Vlade Divac on and off the court.