Shaq Names Hakeem Olajuwon as Unstoppable on His Big Men Mount Rushmore

Shaquille O'Neal reflects on iconic NBA Finals showdown.

by Zain ul Abedin
Shaq Names Hakeem Olajuwon as Unstoppable on His Big Men Mount Rushmore
© Vincent Laforet/Getty Images

In a revealing discussion about the greatest centers in basketball history, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, known for his monumental impact on the court, shared his personal Mount Rushmore of the greatest big men in the sport, excluding himself.

Despite a career filled with accolades and championships, O'Neal humbly placed other legends above him in the pantheon of basketball greatness. During this candid conversation, O'Neal highlighted the unparalleled achievements of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the record-setting championships of Bill Russell, the unmatched dominance of Wilt Chamberlain, and the exceptional skills of Hakeem Olajuwon, whom he candidly admitted he struggled to defend against.

"You gotta go with Mr. Russell for championships," O'Neal stated, underscoring the importance of Abdul-Jabbar's contributions and Chamberlain's dominance. However, it was his acknowledgment of Olajuwon that was particularly striking.

"You gotta go with Hakeem Olajuwon 'coz I couldn't stop that motherf-----," O'Neal confessed, showcasing the high regard in which he holds Olajuwon's ability to outplay him.

O'Neal vs. Olajuwon

Reflecting on his encounters with "The Dream" during his illustrious career, O'Neal recalled the challenge Olajuwon presented.

Notably, during the 1994-95 NBA season, a pivotal year for O'Neal, his Orlando Magic soared to the top of the Eastern Conference, largely due to his dominant performances. Yet, it was in the Finals where O'Neal faced Olajuwon, a matchup that proved to be a stern test for the then-young superstar.

Despite elevating his game, O'Neal found Olajuwon to be an immovable object, outmaneuvering and outplaying him, a rare feat that left a lasting impression on O'Neal's career. O'Neal's selection of these legends not only reflects his respect for their contributions to the game but also underscores the high standards of excellence and achievement in the NBA.

The debate over the greatest centers is perennial, yet O'Neal's Mount Rushmore offers a compelling glimpse into the perspective of one of the game's most formidable players. While O'Neal's omission of himself from the list is notable, his impact and legacy in the sport remain undisputed.

This discussion reiterates the rich history and competitive spirit that defines the NBA, highlighting the careers of players who have transcended the game.

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