Shaq Leaves High School Team Doubting NBA Dreams: 'No Chance,' Players Say

Shaquille O'Neal weighs in on modern NBA dynamics.

by Nouman Rasool
Shaq Leaves High School Team Doubting NBA Dreams: 'No Chance,' Players Say
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NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, known for his extraordinary physical presence on the basketball court, recently shared insights on his career and today's game in an episode of the 'Fluent & Chill' podcast. O'Neal's intimidating stature was highlighted during a memorable encounter with a high school basketball team in Phoenix, where he was playing for the Orlando Magic at the time.

The Sports Fluent host vividly described Shaq's overwhelming size, noting his 49ers jacket seemed as large as a house and his handshake reached the elbow of a 6'3", 250-pound individual. This encounter left a lasting impression on the young players, who felt daunted by the prospect of facing such formidable opponents in the NBA.

Shaq on NBA's Changing Dominance

Reflecting on the current dominance of big men in the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal expressed his views on the differences between his era and the present. Despite the recent trend of big men receiving the last five MVP awards, O'Neal believes the current style of play and atmosphere in the league differs significantly from his time.

He challenged the use of the term "dominant" to describe current players, emphasizing that true dominance was evident in his ability to perform against multiple defenders regularly. For O'Neal, dominance also meant impacting the game to the extent of prompting rule changes.

In light of Joel Embiid's remarkable season, comparisons to O'Neal have surfaced, notably from Kevin Garnett who suggested Embiid is akin to a version of Shaq with a jump shot. However, O'Neal cautioned that true greatness for Embiid hinges on his postseason performance, underscoring the importance of delivering when it matters most.

This candid conversation with Shaquille O'Neal not only reminisces about his imposing figure and unique style of play but also sheds light on the evolving dynamics of the NBA and the benchmarks for greatness in the league.

His perspective as a 15-time All-Star adds significant weight to the discussion about what constitutes dominance in basketball today.