Sakil O’Neill: NBA’s smiling roadroller

He is among the top players in his history. The 52-year-old now Shaqil O’Neill, who played as a center, is considered one of the best in his position of all time. The way he fought was really unique. Nobody could stop him. He was feared by the opponents, the wreaths “trem”. How could it be different? The huge Sack with a height of 2.16 m and with weights that managed to reach 179, was mathematically certain that any “lucky” was invited to mark him, would spend an unforgettable evening. His huge career is full of team and individual distinctions, culminating naturally in the three consecutive leagues with the Los Angeles Lakers in early 2000. Widely known for his dominance in the world’s top league, basketball’s “great Aristotle” emerged in 1992 from the Magic as one of the top fives in the NBA. After four years he moved to Los Angeles, where next to Koby Bryant won three consecutive leagues with the Lakers. Because of his struggle with the wrongful “Black Mamba” he was driven to Miami, where with the Heat he won his fourth championship. In 2011 after 19 years of march he announced his retirement from the parks. John’s big fan Antetokounbo came to admit that while for his sake he tried to speak Greek, not with great success, to congratulate him on his award as the MVP of the regular season for the second straight year in the NBA. The Greek video by Shaqil O’Neill: The son of Lucy O’Neill and Joe Tony, Shaqil, was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 6, 1972. Shaqil’s inclination and love of basketball was evident from the early years of his life and he decided to follow her after the years at Louisiana University. His friends called him “the whale” because of his appearance. At a height of 2 meters and a weight of 120 kg just at 13 years, only sport would give him a way out to exploit the dowry of his natural forces. The NBA called him and could not deny the Orlando Magic proposal. From the beginning he stood out for his dynamic way of playing using his volume as a key offensive weapon. The power of his nails made him immediately known and popular but also fear and terror for his teammates. First team of Sakil O’Neil in the world’s best championship the Orlando Magic, who even selected him at number 1 of the NBA draft in 1992. He quickly became one of the top centers in the league, winning the Rookie of the Year award in the 1992–93 season having an average of 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds and later leading his team to the NBA finals in 1995. After four years with the Magic, he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. He won three consecutive championships in 2000 , 2001 , and 2002 , winning the title of the most valuable player of the finals equal numbers of times. His performances in the 2000 finals against the Indiana Pacers with an average of 38 points and 16,7 rebounds are considered among the best in league history. On the day of his 28th birthday he scored a career record with 61 points against the Los Angeles Clippers. After opposing him, he was sold to Miami Heat in 2004, and the fourth NBA championship followed in 2006. In mid-2007–08 he transferred to the Phoenix Sans. After 1.5 year with the Sans, in the 2009–10 season he became a Cleveland Cavaliers player. O’Neill played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010–11 season before leaving in 2011. Personal awards he has won include the MVP award in 1999–2000, the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1992–93, 15 appearances in the All-Star game, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three times MVP finals, two times first NBA scorer, 14 times in the best team, and three times in the best defensive team. He is one of three players who have won the NBA MVP, All-Star Game MVP and MVP finals that same year (2000), the other players are Willis Reed in 1970 and Michael Jordan in 1996 and 1998. He ranks 8th scorer of all time, 5th in two, 13th in rebounds and 7th in cuts. He was the most apt player in the league for 10 times. At a weight of 147 to 179 kg from the middle of his career, he was one of the heavier players ever played in the NBA. No coincidence that the Miami Heats withdrew the jersey with number 32 and the Lakers with the 34 he wore during his career in these teams. In 2021 he was included in the anniversary selection of the 75 NBA best with the completion of his 75-year history. In addition to his basketball career, he has released four rap albums, with the first Shaq Diesel becoming platinum. They followed “Shaq Fu The Return”, “Yu can’t stop the Reign”, “Respect” and “Gorilla Warfare” as DJ Diesel which is the most recent and released in August 2023. He has appeared in many films and has also starred in his own reality shows. The Struggle of Shaqil O’Neill and Coby Bryant The wrongful Koby Bryant along with Shaqil O’Neil were perhaps the best duo in NBA history, but their co-existence in Los Angeles was not at all peaceful. Nevertheless, the two of them have celebrated three straight leagues together with the Lakers jersey. The first fight took place during the 1998/99 season lock out when they went to exchange punches. “Sack gave me the first punch, I retaliated and they all fell on us to separate us,” Bryant had admitted some time later mocking the scene. The opposition continued informally with Bryant confessing that he was aiming to get more rings than Shaqil: “When we split up, I was aiming to pass you to championships. I knew you’d get another one with Wade’s Heat, so I knew I had to take at least 2-3 more, to be over you.” His relationship with Koby Bryant had been spoken by Shaqil O’Neill, disproving the reports they wanted to oppose. “The truth is there was no conflict with Kobe. There were disagreements sometimes, mainly because he wanted to shoot all the time, and I wanted him to pass on to me constantly,” the veteran center originally said. Even under these unorthodox situations between the two protagonists, the team wore its third consecutive ring. The corsets on the floor didn’t say to cut until the knot reached the… comb and one of them had to leave elsewhere. Eventually this was Shaqil and specifically went to Miami. The opposition continued for a while while while the two stars played opponents, but eventually evolved into a fundamental friendship. Both Kobi and Shaqil knew that any disagreements could be overcome. “No other twin had our own disagreements. Neither did the Jordans- Pippen, not the Magic-Jabars. We didn’t hug, but when we got on the floor, we forgot everything. That’s why I think we were perhaps the best duo,” O’Neill said. “I lost my brother,” said Shaqil after the news of Koby Bryant’s death. See this post on Instagram. “There are no words to express the pain I feel with this tragic and sad moment when I lost my niece, Gigi, and my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my best friend. I love you and I’ll miss you. Condolences to the Bryant family and to the helicopter. I’m sick,” Shaqil said. Photo source: Reuters, RES-APA

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