Shaquille O’Neal’s bold message to Tim Duncan, Spurs about 1999 NBA title
Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal thinks the San Antonio Spurs’ 1998-99 NBA title should be null and void.
During an episode of “The Big Podcast,” O’Neal said–as far as he was concerned–the Spurs and Tim Duncan only have four rings to their tally (via Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio):
O’Neal blasted the Spurs’ five titles on an episode of his show “The Big Podcast” claiming the Spurs 1999 title should not count because it was a shortened season. He also claims he personally wouldn’t claim an “asterisk” title since in his opinion it does not count.
“I’ll tell all of San Antonio to its face – you only have four. It’s an asterisk. That’s what I think. I would tell Mr. Duncan to his face you have four rings. It says you have five but the asterisks don’t count. In anything I do I never want asterisks about it.”
The 1998-99 NBA season was shortened due to a lockout. Teams were limited to a 50-game regular season, and the Spurs promptly went 37-13 before going 15-2 en route to the title.
It is rather curious for Shaq to claim this title does not count, considering he has no real stake in the matter. After all, the Spurs swept O’Neal and the Lakers in the conference semifinals. Sure, San Antonio had the good fortune of playing the eighth-seeded New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, but that does not take away from what they did that season in winning a championship.
This might just be gamesmanship on Shaq’s part. O’Neal–who has four NBA titles of his own–was recently ranked behind Duncan on ESPN’s list of the top 74 players of all time. Perhaps Shaq feels stripping Duncan of a title would help his resume stack up better with “The Big Fundamental.”