Saturday, June 4, 2011

Did Shaquille O'neal Maximize His Talent?

To say Shaquille O'neal didn't have a Hall of Fame career is ridiculous. However, did he maximize his talent throughout his 19 year career? Did he really get everything he could have out of that 7'1'' 300 plus frame? I've argued for many years that he did not. Sure, I was a big fan of the Shaqdaddy throughout his illustrious career, but there were certainly times that I questioned if he was fully invested in the happenings on the court.

Reebok Shaq Pump
For someone with the size, strength and athleticism of O'neal, there shouldn't have been anything that stopped him. For the most part, there wasn't a player in the league that could stop him except maybe himself. Shaq has never successfully completed an 82 game NBA regular season in 19 tries. In fact, he averaged only 64.5 games per season. I understand that a man that size wasn't exactly treated like a little baby out there. The term "hack-a-chaq" was created for a reason. The real issue here is conditioning.

We all have our different body types, but it didn't look like O'neal spent the necessary time a professional athlete should have on his body as other great centers did like a David Robinson. I wonder how much more dominant Shaq could have been had he worked to keep his body in peak conditioning. How many more injuries could have been prevented at at what level he could have performed at had he worked to keep his body in better physical condition. Let's face it, that "Shaq Versus" show was entertaining, but it really was the cross-training workout he was touting.

No doubt, O'neal is a top 10 all-time great, but could he have been in the top 5 or even 3? Maybe, but I guess we'll never know. One thing is for certain. I like collecting the early O'neal inserts and auto's. A couple of my favorites from my collection are posted above. Enjoy the NBA Finals and… "Every Bounce of the Ball".


  1. I think he did - people who are that big have a tendency to break down - Think Walton, Cowens, Ming, Ewing

  2. @John, No Doubt. I just think he could have played more than 64 games/year and at a higher level for a longer time if he would have work harder to keep some of the extra weight off. Obviously, any player who is in their 17th, 18th or 19th season aren't going to be as spry as the once were. I'm certainly not saying he should have been averaging 40 points a game during those years, but he should have been more of a factor than he was over the last 5-8 years of his career.

  3. I definitely feel he could have been better. The man was great... a legend even... and I personally feel he falls into the top 5 category. However... IMHO I think he could have done more. Shaq was a beast... one that nobody could tame.

    Side note... thanks for reminding me that I still need one of these autographs.

  4. I remember watching him play when he was on the Heat. I mean that was only 5 years ago and he was unbelievably dominant. He and wade could easily combine for 60 points on any given night..

    Btw I sent you a trade offer through your e-mail. Let me know what you think!