Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal claims he’d dominate vs. Michael Jordan’s Bulls
Speaking with ESPN, the Lakers icon made the claim, noting he would punish the Bulls’ centers.
“‘Cause I would’ve killed Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, [Bill] Cartwright,” he said. “The factor is me, and my free-throw shooting,” as transcribed by Timothy Rapp of Bleacher Report.
Lakers fans who witnessed their three-peat might agree to this. After all, there was not a single player who matched up with Shaq during his stint in Los Angeles. And the Bulls teams really had no credible big man to contain the then-Lakers center.
However, O’Neal believes that it still wouldn’t be a sure win for the Lakers. Phil Jackson, who coached both squads, would likely employ a familiar strategy to stop him. Though he would easily score, the outcome of the game would depend on his free throws.
“So he would’ve tried the Hack-a-Shaq thing,” Shaq responded. “I still would average like 28, 29, but the key would’ve been free throws. With me, it’s always 50-50. If I would’ve been on, we win. If I would’ve been off, we lose.”
O’Neal actually faced the Chicago Bulls in the 1994-95 season — the year when Jordan came back midway into the season. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, O’Neal averaged 24.3 points, 13.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 blocks and ousted the Bulls in six games.
Of course, it’s a matchup that we’ll never ever get to see. But the former Lakers big man’s bold statements might trigger another round of debates.