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!