With Shaquille O’Neal being inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, we take a look back at one of his most dominant performances against the Dallas Mavericks.
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most loved and hated players in NBA history, and for good reason. Shaq and his plethora of nicknames was a very easy person to like thanks to his lightheartedness and big smile that was on his face all the time.
He was also incredibly easy to dislike, especially if you were rooting for the team that he was playing against on any given night. That is the kind of reputation that the Big Aristotle carried with him wherever he went.
O’Neal was more than just size when he was on the court though. There are plenty of 300+ pound athletes out there that would never have the impact that Shaq did. The blend of speed and size made him an absolute nightmare to try and slow down. The fact that he knew how to control himself just made things worse.
When you hear the name Shaq, it is common to start thinking of a number of different things off the top of your head. Could be the Los Angeles Lakers amazing run, could be a shattered backboard or two, might even be a random dance contest with Dwight Howard or a back and forth argument with fellow TNT analyst, Charles Barkley.
When you start to think of memorable Shaquille O’Neal moments against the Dallas Mavericks, however, the list gets quite a bit smaller. If you are like me, it pretty much comes down to either the 2006 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, or the absolute bullying of Shawn Bradley whenever he got the chance.
Because I don’t ever like talking about ’06, let’s look back at one of the most dominant performances that Shaq ever had against Dallas (and Shawn Bradley) while with the Lakers in 1998. Just one year before the Mavs pulled the trigger on a trade to get them a big 7-foot German kid named Dirk Nowitzki.
In this game, Shaq shows just how incredible of a player he was with a combination of vicious dunks, contested layups, and sweet hook shots and short fadeaways. It is incredibly uncommon to see a man the size of Shaq who is as talented as anyone on the court.
Long story short, Shaquille puts on a clinic and drops 43 points in a Lakers route of the Mavs. Here, just watch the video.
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Of course, this is just one of countless memorable moments in the career of the Shaqtus. If ever there was a player to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame, Shaquille O’Neal might very well be that guy. Congratulations to one of the greatest to ever play the game.