There was no other player more dominant in the NBA when Shaquille O’Neal was in his prime. Even after his three-peat triumph with the Lakers, the ‘Big Diesel’ moved teams and found success in Miami. A few months ago, O’Neal revealed how he was frustrated by the constant disrespect that he received in spite of proving himself multiple times in the league.
Shaq played for six different teams in his career, but his stint with the Lakers stands out as the most successful one. The four-time champion averaged 27.0 points, and 11.8 rebounds a game when suiting up for the purple and gold. Kobe and Shaq achieved the historic three-peat at the beginning of the 2000s decade to mark a new era in the league.
However, the romance didn’t last long as the Big man wanted out of the team after certain things seemed unfixable from his standpoint. Shaq made an appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast a few months ago, where he mentioned how he grew frustrated about the constant criticism that people were throwing at him.
“At three, I was like, ‘You know what I’m good, Ima just go on and just play my career out.’ And they disrespected me again,” Shaq said, talking to ex-NBA players Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson about how the disrespect haunted him even after winning three rings in a row.
This then urged Shaq to demand a trade from the Lakers. He had already chosen his preferred destination and cemented his authority on the management to make it happen. Here’s Shaq explaining about how it went down.
Shaquille O’Neal on fixing his move away from the Lakers
After eight years of shaking the NBA to its roots, Shaq confirmed that he would be moving away from LA and Kobe Bryant. Laker fans were unable to cope with the fact that one of the best partnerships in the league was coming to an end.
The reason behind this, what some might deem “selfish” move, came due to a ton of disrespect from the media and the fans. “So I go into the office and I flex my power again,” recalled Shaq about talking to the Lakers’ front office about the trade. “I said, ‘Okay, you wanna trade me, but I’m going to Miami.’”
The Big Diesel then informed how he was stubborn with his decision which forced the Lakers to trade him to the Heat and not elsewhere. But, why Miami? “Cause I saw something in D-Wade,” Shaq stated. “I saw like a mixture of Penny and Kobe, but he ain’t have no help with him.”
“So you get me down there with him, getting double or triple-teamed, and that’s gonna open it up for him. So that was my envision,” he continued. The 3x finals MVP also revealed that he pulled in a few favors from stars like Gary Payton and James Posey to join the Heat.
How did Shaq adjust with Dwyane Wade at Miami?
One of the main reasons why the Lakers saw a postponed success with the pairing of Shaq and Kobe is that both of them demanded to be the alpha male in the team. Of course, both had their fair share of arguments which cause havoc in the team.
The delayed success did, however, bring joy and harmony to the team. But Shaq wanted none of that when he moved to Miami. Prior to joining the Heat, the Hall of Famer had experienced the problem with Kobe and Penny Hardaway. Thus, he wanted to avoid it with D Wade.
“I was tired of it,” Shaq said, talking about the situation with Penny and Kobe. “So when I got to Miami, I just gave it up. I said, ‘It’s your team dawg. It’s your team. Your team. I’m the big advisor, I’m following you.’ You just get tired of it, cause you realize that in the long run, it’s a useless title.”
“It’s your team. What does that mean? You da man. What does that mean? Don’t mean nothing right?” O’Neal then informed how he opened up to Dwyane Wade about his problems with Kobe and Penny and came straight that he didn’t want the same with Miami as well. “I said, “That could never happen with me and you. This is your shit. I’ma sit back.’”
Shaquille O’Neal did take a step back and let Wade be the superstar of the team. His generous decision earned him a fourth championship, which also went down as his final ring in the NBA. However, after moving on from the Heat in 2008, O’Neal spent three more years in the league. He leapfrogged between a trio of teams after completing one-year stints.