Shaquille O’Neal vehemently disagrees with Mad Dog calling him 5th-best NBA center ever

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo believes that Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is the fifth-best center of all time.

“Shaq is what – the fifth-best center in the in the history of the NBA?” Russo asked.

Both Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams were shocked by Russo’s comments, with Smith asking Russo if he had “lost his damn mind.”

Russo went on to say that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan and Moses Malone were all better than O’Neal in his career.

Russo’s take was met by a lot of opposition from his ESPN colleagues, and O’Neal himself fired back as well, claiming that he is the most dominant center in NBA history.

“Who the f— is that?” O’Neal said when talking about Russo.

When told that Russo called him the fifth-best center in NBA history, O’Neal didn’t hold back.

“I’m the most dominant center ever,” O’Neal said. “I don’t ever want to hear another name again, okay? So, that would put me at No. 3. I passed Hakeem Olajuwon. The king beat me. I came back and beat him. Moses Malone, I passed him up four, five, six years ago before I retired. So, me – I would put myself at No. 3.”

A Hall of Famer, there’s no doubt that O’Neal was one of the most dominant players in the history of the NBA during his prime. He won two scoring titles during his career, three NBA Finals MVP awards and was a huge part of the Lakers’ success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. O’Neal is a four-time NBA champion and won the 1999-00 regular season MVP.

The big man’s size and strength made him an extremely tough player to guard in the post, and he has more NBA titles than Olajuwon.

While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, Russo appeared to be grasping at straws by naming Duncan (who mostly played power forward in his prime) and Malone as players that were better centers than O’Neal.

The Lakers legend knows that his resume as a player speaks for itself, and he won titles with multiple teams because of how dominant a player he was.

For his career, O’Neal averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 58.2 percent from the field. He played for the Lakers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics in his Hall of Fame career.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.