Shaquille O’Neal sat down for an interview with SLAM magazine and of course gave some pretty interesting answers. Â He touched on players that annoyed him, how he feels he should be ranked, and addressed the comparison to Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. Â Read more after the jump.
SLAM: When you entered the NBA, you didnâ€™t know exactly what kind of career you would have. Now, looking back on it, did it go about the way you thought it would?
SHAQ:Â Yeah, it actually did. Before I got that first ring, I thought I never was going to get one. Then I met Phil, changed my philosophy and knocked out three: bang-bang-bang. Then lost it for a while, then got another one in Miami. Even though I got four, I felt I should have six or seven. The first, with the Magic, we shouldnâ€™t have lost that one. Then when the Lakers lost against Detroit, we shouldnâ€™t have lost that one. And we should have made it to the Finals the year I played with LeBron, but we never quite got that far. In my mind I should have seven rings; in my mind I should be number two in scoring; in my mind Iâ€™m the most dominant big man to ever play the game.
SLAM: Who did you hate playing against?
SLAM: I mean, not players who could stop you, but guys who annoyed you.
SHAQ:Â Yeah, OK, that would be Oakley, Barkleyâ€”the little strong guys. And the guy from Detroit.
SHAQ:Â No, big guy.
SHAQ:Â No, big butt guy. He always used to pull the chair in the post.
SHAQ:Â Rick Mahorn! He always used to pull the chair! Aw, yeah, Rick Mahorn.
SLAM: Now that youâ€™re retired, how do you think you compare against some of the all-time great players? How would you have done against someone like Kareem?
SHAQ:Â You know, a lot of people try to compare stuff that can never be compared. I mean, itâ€™s different. I look at his game and the way he played and the way I played, and I think I would kill him. But he was the man of his time, and I was the man of my time. His numbers are up there.
The only thing that upsets me about numbers is that if I wouldnâ€™t have missed those 300 games, I would have passed his numbers by leaps and bounds and then that would make me the number one dominant center ever. Canâ€™t ever get those back. I would have held my own. Iâ€™m not really known for defense, so he probably would have got his numbers, but I would have got my numbers, too, because I always got great numbers against great centers. But truthfully, that question can never be answered. Weâ€™ll never know. People can always say Kareem wouldâ€™ve killed me, but in my mind, I think Kareem was too light. I would have given him the one-two, boom-boom, elbow, throw it down.