Throwback Thursday: Shaquille O’Neal


VIDEO: Shaquille O’Neal leads the Lakers to the title in 2000

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s Topic: Shaquille O’Neal wins first Finals MVP

For the first seven seasons in his NBA career, Shaquille O’Neal achieved tremendous success during the regular season, but consistent success in the playoffs eluded him. Sure, he reached the NBA Finals in just his third season (1994-95) as a member of the Orlando Magic, but his team was swept from the NBA’s championship stage in four games.

After signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 1996, O’Neal was again a focal point of the team and led L.A. on playoff runs. He never reached The Finals again, though, until the 1999-2000 season. That was the season in which he ran away with the regular season MVP trophy and, once he got back to The Finals, made sure not to flub this time around.

On June 18, 2000, he was named unanimous MVP of The Finals after L.A. ousted the Indiana Pacers 116-111 in Game 6. O’Neal averaged 38 points, 16.7 rebounds and 2.67 blocks in the six-game Finals series. He became just the third person to sweep MVP honors for the season, capturing the All-Star Game MVP, which he shared with San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP awards. O’Neal joined Willis Reed (1970) and Michael Jordan (1996). The Lakers tied the NBA Finals single game record with only five turnovers.

In honor of Shaq’s big accomplishment 15 years ago today, we pay homage to his tremendous career::


Gallery: Shaquille O’Neal’s career

What are your favorite O’Neal memories? Leave your comments below!

3 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Shaq’s real dominant period came at the end of the great center era (mid 80s – mid 90s) so those from that period who were in the league by 1999-2000 season were well into their thirties and past their prime.

    It is a bit much though that with the finals just ending we get TWO Lakers championship related articles appear on NBA.com.

  2. george says:

    shaq was the most entertaining big man in his day.amazing baller and a great person. made me a big fan wherever he played and even now on TNT. thanks Shaq

  3. Kal says:

    i think commenter “george” says it right…
    Shaq was the most entertaining. if not the best, the most entertaining. and people don’t always realize they’re not the same thing. part of entertainment factor is when you have a guy who is relatable, which both Shaq and Kobe were. they were human and had flaws. they were what you, an average joe, would be if you suddenly had their powers. you would want all the shots, you would ham it up for the cameras… because it’s more fun that way… whereas guys like Hakeem and Jordan always seemed a bit distant.. The Great Man who you admire more than you connect with them..

    Shaq was just awesome. neither 2003 nor 2004 was really his fault. he won in 2006, made conference finals in 2005, was still playing well as far as 2008. with better teams around him, he could have had another couple championships, easily. he met Hakeem at a young age and I’m not so sure MVP Shaq would have got swept like that..

    to me, Shaq is the most entertaining but also just plain the best center ever… his combination of size, strength, speed, agility, finesse, understanding of the game, leadership, dominant persona… Hakeem had more moves and quicker hands defensively so there’s an argument for Hakeem. … I haven’t seen enough Chamberlain or Kareem to make conclusions. … my gut feeling is Shaq could have bested all of them if he was going against them in his prime or MVP season because, people don’t realize, Shaq was verstaile. he could leap and moved really nimbly for a guy that big.