Shaquille O’Neal made a bold statement on Wednesday when he assured ESPN’s Ariel Helwani his three-peat Lakers would ‘easily’ beat the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan. Those teams are two of the greatest dynasties we’ve seen in basketball in recent years and plenty of fans wonder what would happen if they went against each other.
“Of course, yes. Easily,” Shaq told Helwani. “I would have killed Luc Longley, Cartwright. So, the fact that was me and my free-throw shoot. Now the question is with the Lakers in their prime and Chicago in their prime, is Phil Jackson with us? [Jackson with the Bulls] would have tried the ‘Hack A Shaq’ so I’d still have my 28, 29, but the key would have been free throws.”
He then doubled down and posted a pic on Instagram with two imagined teams of the Lakers and the Bulls, saying Los Angeles would beat them in six games if it wasn’t a sweep.
ESPN’s analyst Stephen A. Smith reacted to Shaq’s claims, saying the Bulls would have swept his team.
“The Lakers in their prime was not even Kobe in his prime. He hadn’t arrived yet on that level. Not only would the beat smoke Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers, they might have swept them. Maybe out of respect to Kobe and Shaq, I might have given them one game but that’s about it. Shaq said it best, the free-throw shooting, he would have been neutralized.”
Smith then explained how Shaq faced the Bulls when MJ came out of retirement, and even though he did his thing, his teammate couldn’t perform as well as him and the Bulls 'annihilated them’. He translated that scenario to the Lakers, saying they would’ve had the same result.
“The Lakers would have been lucky to win one game. The Bulls would have taken them out. Easily.”
It looks like Shaq’s case for the Lakers isn’t that good for Stephen A., who dismantled every hypothetical scenario where people saw the Lakers coming out victorious of that imagined series.