Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are both, unquestionably, two of the greatest players of all time. Their achievements speaks volumes about their legendary stature. Although the two legends did not play much against each other, as Shaq joined the NBA just 6 years before Michael Jordan retired and left the Bulls, Shaq has some great memories playing against MJ.
In a video segment for NBA 75, several NBA players were asked to speak about Michael Jordan. Shaquille O’Neal then shared a very interesting story playing against Jordan. He noted that when Jordan tried dunking on him, he decided to flagrant foul him. Shaq also reminisced a valuable learning which MJ taught him, something which Shaq carried with him throughout his career (3:45 onwards).
“I take pride in never being dunked on. In 19 years I could say I’ve probably been dunked on like 3-4 times. But His Airness Michael Jordan came baseline one time and tried to dunk on me. And it hurt my arm, but I had to flagrant foul him. When I went to shake his hand and pick him up, he said don’t ever help nobody up, and he hops right back up. I knew then why he was the best player in the game. Pat Riley told me later you show other players respect by showing them none. So Michael Jordan, yes we’re friends, brothers, but when we’re on this court, I don’t know you Shaq.”
There is a reason why Shaq is regarded as the most dominant player in the history of NBA. As Shaq mentioned, he took pride in no one dunking on him. And when Michael Jordan, one of the greatest dunkers of all time, came at him, he had no choice but to take MJ down with a flagrant foul. Really it must be some story for Shaq to be proud about.
Shaq and Jordan only faced-off against each other in two playoff series. Orlando Magic actually became the last team to defeat Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs. Jordan and the Bulls then took their revenge by defeating the Magic in the playoffs in the next season, as they went on to win the 1996 NBA championship.