Shaquille O'Neal is widely regarded as the most dominant NBA player to step on the court. O'Neal won four NBA Championships in his career and has several other phenomenal accolades on his resume.
His years as a Los Angeles Lakers player were undoubtedly his prime years, but even before that, Shaq was still an amazing player. This is understandable after considering that he led the Orlando Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals in just his third year in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets swept the Magic as they won the finals in four games. We are all aware of what happened next as O'Neal joined the Lakers after becoming a free agent.
Despite forming a dynamic duo with Kobe Bryant later, if there is one thing that Shaq never did, it was to form a superteam. In a recent podcast with Robert Horry, O'Neal discussed his decision and why he never formed a superteam, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence in today's NBA.
"Guys are getting real lazy and real cute, and they want guys like me and Big Shot Bob to show them some respect. Trust me, if I knew it was okay to team up after Houston swept us in '94, I would've went and played next to Hakeem and Rob. I would've went and played with [Michael] Jordan every time they beat us. I would've went and played with Tim Duncan and David Robinson. I'm from San Antonio. I could've came down there and played and won, but I was like nope. I'm taking my licks, licking my wounds, and I want to beat these dudes — and we did."
As we mentioned earlier, Shaq lost against Hakeem in the 1995 NBA Finals. The Magic were never a match for the Rockets as they utterly dominated Shaq and co.
Regardless of that, Shaq and the Magic were not a weak team by any means. They had defeated the legendary Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was great series that went to six games, with the final result being 4-2 in favor of the Magic.
MJ would later go on to take his revenge in the 1996 playoffs. The two sides met against each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. This time around MJ made sure to crush Shaq and the Magic by ending the series in just four games. That was the last time the two superstars faced off against each other in the playoffs.
Speaking of the next player that Shaq mentioned about joining forces with, Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental was one of the best forwards of his generation and it highlights his amazing NBA resume.
Shaq first played against Duncan and the Spurs in the 1999 Western Conference semifinals, where San Antonio comfortably defeated the Lakers in four games. But Shaq will later get his revenge against them in the 2001 Western Conference Finals. This time around, the Lakers won the series in just four games.
For the next few years, the two stars battled out many times during the playoffs. In the 2002 Western Conference semifinals, Shaq and the Lakers won the series comfortably within five games as the series ended 4-1. They faced off once again in the 2003 Western Conference semifinals and Duncan's Spurs won it 4-2.
Finally, in the 2004 Western Conference semifinals, Shaq faced Duncan for the last time while wearing a Lakers jersey. This series was won by the Lakers 4-2.
So all things considered, as Diesel said in the podcast, he believed in defeating his opponents instead of forming a superteam with them. And as he promised, he won against them as well.