Shaquille O’Neal has always prided himself on being one of the most dominant players the NBA has ever seen. During his prime, Shaq was a force of nature that very few players had the ability to deal with.
On ‘The Big Podcast with Shaq’, the legendary LA Lakers big man was surprisingly modest about his exploits. When asked about his thoughts on Theo Ratliff’s comments about how he could have stopped Shaq in the 2001 NBA Finals, O’Neal commented:
Shaquille O’Neal had his best poker face on and maybe he really does believe that Ratliff could have stopped him.
During his prime in 2001, Shaquille O’Neal put up monster numbers against almost every defender. No one could stop him one-on-one, which was a big reason why the LA Lakers won three straight championships.
Shaquille O’Neal averaged 27.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 blocks per game from his rookie year until his last year with the LA Lakers.
His numbers in the NBA Finals with the Lakers were even more staggering. In 20 games, O’Neal put up 33.6 PPG, 14.1 RPG and 3.1 APG.
In that span, Shaq faced some of the league’s best defenders such as Tim Duncan,
Theo Ratliff opened up about the 2001 NBA Finals in a recent interview. He explained what he felt was the best way to contain Shaq.
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Theo Ratliff’s philosophy against Shaquille O’Neal isn’t something new. Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon employed a similar strategy, but it obviously didn’t work consistently.
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