Stephen Curry shows love to Lakers icon while picking 3 NBA legends he would’ve liked to play with

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers may be considered rivals, but that didn’t stop Warriors superstar Stephen Curry from naming Lakers icon Shaquille O’Neal as one of three all-time greats he would’ve liked to play with.

“My top three, I’d probably say [Michael] Jordan, Shaq and maybe Hakeem Olajuwon,” Curry said. “I’d like to play with all three of those guys because I think Jordan, you just wanna see it up close and personal. I think a pick and roll with me and Hakeem or me and Shaq would be pretty much unstoppable.”

If taking the court in an actual game — with all four players in their prime years — just those four legends might be enough to handle an opposing team of five players.

O’Neal is regarded as one of the most dominant players ever and won three NBA championships during his eight seasons with the Lakers. He later added a fourth ring with the Miami Heat.

Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time, and Olajuwon is seen as a legend in his own right. For his part, Curry has changed the game with his shooting and scoring abilities.

The 35-year-old is basing most of his observations on those three players from afar, as his NBA career only overlapped with two seasons of O’Neal’s. Those were the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns, when Curry was just starting out and O’Neal was wrapping up his time in the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.

After establishing his legacy with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan last played for the Washington Wizards in the 2002-03 NBA season. Meanwhile, Olajuwon, an all-time Houston Rockets great, left the league following the 2001-02 season with the Toronto Raptors, where he and Curry’s father Dell were teammates.

The younger Curry is teammates with some possible future Hall of Famers on the Warriors, like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. That trio has combined for four NBA championships and is aiming to add to that total this season.

But the 2023-24 NBA campaign hasn’t gotten off to the start Golden State would have liked. The Warriors are taking a 6-7 record and a five-game losing streak into their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

The younger Curry — who has been compared to Lakers great Magic Johnson in some conversations — is dealing with a knee injury but is averaging 30.7 points per game in his 11 appearances this season. In addition, Green is serving a suspension for an on-court altercation with Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves that occurred earlier this week.

Though the younger Curry clearly was talking about hypothetically playing with the all-time greats, maybe the 51-year-old O’Neal can shock the world and make himself available for a brief stint to help the Warriors get back on track.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.