Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal opens up about falling one vote shy to become unanimous MVP in 1999-00
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is no doubt one of the best players to ever grace the basketball court. However, “Shaq” may not be as talented as letting things go, as the longtime Los Angeles Lakers big man is still holding a serious grudge against former CNN journalist Fred Hickman.
Hickman infamously caused O’Neal to miss out on becoming a unanimous MVP back in the 1999-00 season, as he instead voted for Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson.
“Fred Idiot Hickman,” O’Neal recently told Kristine Leahy in Fair Game. “I hate him. I don’t need to talk to him. There’s nothing to apologize about. Because he destroyed history being a (expletive).”
So excited to have @SHAQ on the show with me today, tomorrow and Wednesday. We talked about SO much – here’s Shaq discussing being one vote shy from unanimous MVP. Couldn’t even finish my sentence… pic.twitter.com/4ZufnAviC8
— Kristine Leahy (@KristineLeahy) September 23, 2019
O’Neal ended up with 121 of a possible 122 votes — the highest percentage received by any MVP in league history at the time. However, it has since been surpassed by current Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. Of course, Hickman helped Curry become a unanimous MVP by voting for him alongside 130 of his colleagues.
“[Hickman] messed up history. And then a couple years later he’s going to give Steph Curry unanimous? I love Steph; Steph’s my favorite guy. He knows that. But c’mon,” the Lakers great added.
O’Neal averaged 29.7 points and shot 57.4 percent from the field during that season 19 years ago. He also registered 13.6 rebounds and 3.03 blocked shots per game for the Lakers. On the other hand, Iverson recorded 28.4 points and shot 42.1 percent from the field in 1999-00.