Shaquille O’Neal will be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.  He’s been looking back on his career in the NBA and like many others, he has seen how the game has changed.  Small ball reigns supreme, and there’s a lot more shooters, even the “big men.”  Many people say there aren’t any “true centers” anymore.  Shaq says he’s the reason the NBA has turned into a jump shooting league.

via Yahoo Sports:

Q: This Hall of Fame consists of two dominant big men, you and Yao. Duncan and [San Antonio’s] Pau Gasol are the [future] candidates, but both can be categorized as power forwards and won championships playing the four. How long will it take for a legitimate back-to-the-basket center to reach the Hall of Fame now?

O’Neal: There won’t be another one like me, and like Yao, ever again. We feel the dearth of the real center. I believe the way that I dominated, I made guys not want to come inside and feel the pain. That’s why you have a lot of guys stepping out and shooting jumpers now. We’re all products of our environment, so when I was coming up, I saw big men playing in the middle. The kids saw me playing and realized that they couldn’t endure the pain and nor did they want to take the pain. So they started shooting jumpers – a la Dirk Nowitzki.

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