Brian Scalabrine has never been an All-Star in the NBA, but yet he remains one of the most famous and entertaining players of the modern era.
Scalabrine went on the “Dan Patrick Show”, where he spoke about Shaquille O’Neal, the four-time NBA champion and one of the most dominant NBA players ever.
But Scalabrine has his own vision of Shaq. He believes, O’Neal is underrated.
“Shaquille O’Neal is probably one of the greatest underrated NBA players,” Scalabrine said on air. He reminded that before O’Neal’s career started to decline, he was “40 and 20” some nights (scoring at least 40 points and getting at least 20 rebounds).
“When you played against Shaq, you wouldn’t come off his body when the guy drove,” Scalabrine said. “When Kobe drives, you just stay on Shaq, not come off his body, because if not, he will clear the offensive rebound and dunk it home on you.”
“I think Kobe is great, but he’s just not at that level [where O’Neal is]. Shaq was just a fraction of what he was, when he was in Miami…,” said Scalabrine. “People look at Shaq and think his career started when he was in LA, but it started when he was in Orlando, in 1992.”
“When Shaq started winning, people started to say that he was only good for a certain amount of time. No! He was good in his rookie year all the way through, and I would say his decline started probably after the LA lost to the Pistons in 2004, but then he goes to Miami and they win a championship there, and Shaq got a lot to do with that.”
Scalabrine honestly said that Shaq is in his top 10, but not in his top 5, “because of longevity” issue.
He said that speaking all-time, people put Kobe Bryant on a higher piedestal than Shaq.
“But if it is about draft pick, and you’re looking at Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, and a 44% shooting guard…, I think I am going to go with Shaq,” Scalabrine said. “I doubt you’re going to take a tough-shot maker against a 40-20 guy in the finals.”
O’Neal and Bryant won three NBA championships with the LA Lakers, before losing to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. O’Neal left the team to win one more title with the Miami Heat, while Bryant left with LA, winning two more NBA titles there under coach Phil Jackson.
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