Shaquille O’Neal Reveals 1 Player Who Didn’t Show Fear Against Him

Shaquille O'Neal, NBA News
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

During his prime, Shaquille O’Neal was quite possibly the most physically dominant player in NBA history. He won his lone regular season MVP during the 1999-2000 season, and it was likely the greatest season any human being has ever had in basketball history when considering the differences in the league’s various eras.

O’Neal had a unique combination of brute strength and force, explosiveness, quickness and relentlessness. He inspired fear in opponents, and going up against him was like trying to fight a grizzly bear with a butter knife.

He recently said that one player clearly wasn’t afraid of him — Tim Duncan.

If O’Neal wasn’t the NBA’s greatest big man of the decade of the 2000s, then Duncan definitely was. He played all 19 of his seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, and he led them to five world championships despite an ever-evolving cast of characters around him.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan Updates

His first ring came with an aging David Robinson and a plodding crew that was outstanding on the defensive end but only middling on offense. His other four rings were won with the help of potent penetrating guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and in 2014, Duncan had a young Kawhi Leonard by his side when he won his final Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Duncan met O’Neal six times in the NBA playoffs. The Spurs won three of those series, while O’Neal went home as the victor the other three times. On each of those three occasions that he won, O’Neal led his Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan Updates

Another great big man who may not have had any fear while going up against O’Neal was Hakeem Olajuwon. In the 1995 NBA Finals, Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets met O’Neal’s Orlando Magic, and while both giants put up their usual numbers, the Rockets swept Orlando and claimed their second straight championship.

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