Shaquille O’Neal pays respect to Jazz team that swept Lakers in 1998 NBA Playoffs
Shaquille O’Neal payed homage earlier today to the iconic 90’s Utah Jazz team led by John Stockton and Karl Malone. An Instagram post with the caption “this is true we couldn’t beat these boy for nothing” broke down how the 1998 Utah Jazz swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
The post described that the Jazz toppled Los Angeles despite four of the Lakers’ players making the All-Star game that season. Those four players were Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones, and Nick Van Exel. A second year Kobe and young Shaq were even named starters in the All-Star game that season. For Utah, only Karl Malone made the All-Star roster.
In the series, the talented Los Angeles roster was no match for Utah, who was well versed in playoff basketball. In what ended up a quick sweep, only two of the games were determined by single digits. Massive games of 39 points in game 3 and 38 points in game 4 from O’Neal still weren’t enough to push the Lakers into the finals. By the end of the series, the Jazz had averaged 13.5 more points per game than their opponent and touted a 15.1 point better offensive rating through the four games.
While Shaq is no stranger to reminiscing, it was nice to see the big man give a shout out and some respect to an all-time iconic team. That said, it’s hard not to wonder what an NBA Finals featuring a young Kobe and a seasoned Michel Jordon would have looked like.