Shaq vehemently disagrees with ranking that has LeBron at No. 1 and former Lakers center at No. 5

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

Former Los Angeles Lakers star big man Shaquille O’Neal vehemently disagreed with a No. 1 pick ranking that put LeBron James at the top of the list and him all the way down at No. 5, behind James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan.


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O’Neal played eight seasons of his NBA career with the storied Lakers franchise, and it was during his time with Los Angeles that he cemented himself as arguably the most dominant big man ever to play the game of basketball. The 7-foot-1 center averaged 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the field across 514 total regular-season games played with the Lakers.

O’Neal and Kobe Bryant also led the Lakers to three straight titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The Bryant and O’Neal-led Lakers are the most recent NBA team to win three consecutive NBA championships. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Chicago Bulls also won three straight championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Arguably O’Neal’s best NBA Finals series during his time with the Lakers came during the 2000 NBA Finals against Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson and the Indiana Pacers. The big man averaged 38.0 points and 16.7 rebounds per game for the series and shot 61.1 percent from the field. The Lakers went on to defeat the Pacers in six games.

O’Neal’s eight-season stint with the Lakers came to an end following the 2003-04 season. Los Angeles dealt him to the Miami Heat back in July of 2004 in exchange for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a first-round draft pick. O’Neal went on to win the 2006 NBA title with Dwyane Wade and the Heat, as they eliminated Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the 2006 NBA Finals.

It’s understandable why O’Neal disagrees with his spot on the No. 1 pick ranking, considering he accomplished so much during his time in the NBA from both an individual and collective standpoint.

But all of the No. 1 picks ahead of him on the ranking are also some of the most decorated players in league history.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.