Shaquille O’Neal has won four championships with three different teams. One of the most dominant players in NBA history. His legacy will always be intertwined with the Lakers, but he became a champion with Miami Heat as well. After an illustrious 19 year career in the NBA, where he racked up six league championships and four Finals MVP awards, it’s time to honor Shaq. The Big Aristotle has been a one-of-a-kind contributor to the league, both on and off the court. Let’s go through his unforgettable accomplishments.
Shaq was born to Lucille O’Neal and Joe Toney in Newark, New Jersey on March 6, 1972. His parents had their first child while they were both still teenagers. Shaq’s father left the family when Shaquille was one year old, and he never saw his father again. Shaquille attended high school in Dunbar Township, which is located southwest of Philadelphia. He excelled not just academically but athletically too. He led the basketball team to two consecutive Pennsylvania state championships, and ultimately became the top player in the nation (he had also become class valedictorian). There were no surprises when he committed himself to Louisiana State University on a full-ride scholarship for basketball.
The number of championships
Shaq has four championships with three different teams to his name. He won two of his four championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal played five seasons for the Miami Heat, where he became a champion alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Shaq also is the only player in NBA history with multiple Finals MVP awards on two teams. He is one of only three players in NBA history to have won 4 consecutive finals MVPs (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan are the others)
With his first championship, he was the youngest player to ever win a NBA championship at age 20. Shaq was a dominant force in the NBA for over a decade and a half. He was selected in 1996 All-Star Game Slam Dunk Contest and in 1992 in the three point shooting contest. The MVP for this season’s all-star game, Shaq was also an 11 time All-NBA Team member and a two time NBA Finals MVP. There is no doubt that this man deserved to be named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
The most famous dunk
In the 2000 Olympics, France was up by 7 points at one point, but Shaq came from behind and dunked on a French player. This became known as his most famous dunk ever. That same game, Team USA went on to win in overtime by margin of 95-75 (with O’Neal scoring 33 points in the game).
In 2004 after winning his fourth title with Miami Heat team mates Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley as coach he said “This is my last dance” but then went on for another six years before retiring again in 2011 at age 38. When Shaq retired from basketball, he had already played 19 seasons with 14 All-Star appearances and an impressive list of accolades including Rookie of the Year, 3 time Finals MVP, 2 time League MVP, 15 All-NBA First Team selections, 3 time Defensive Player of The Year and more than 25k points scored.
Basketball Hall of Fame
He has been inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame for his contributions to basketball during his time as an active playerH
Shaq’s legacy will always be intertwined with the Lakers, but he became a champion with Miami Heat as well. Young basketball player’s should look up to him and his accomplishments and try to do their best to set new better records.