The Shaquille O’Neal experiment on “Inside the NBA” has been a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, sometimes Shaq does really stupid stuff that is unintentionally funny, so that is OK and pretty nice for the internet. On the other hand, he basically just tries to take things off-topic, rarely makes actual basketball points and almost always mumbles. So maybe the bag hasn’t been that mixed. More like it is a bag of Gardetto’s that has already been picked through and all that is left is really dry pretzels, but sometimes you luck out and find a rye chip that someone skipped over. This is a perfect analogy.
Last night, however, was a bit different. As you can see up top, Shaq pretty much just made up some “facts” about the time he took the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995. Almost immediately, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley called him out for being wrong. Then, Houston’s Sports 790 handled the rest.
Exactly how wrong was Shaq – Let’s find out…
– Unless Shaq was taking a veiled shot at the Pacers – the Magic beat Jordan’s Bulls in 6 games in the Eastern semis in a series that ended May 18th. They then played a 7 game series with the Pacers, obviously winning 4 games to 3. That series ended on a Sunday (June 4th) in Orlando, they started their finals series with Houston that Wednesday, June 7th. That’s two, count ‘em two, off days.
– Shaq claimed they beat the Rockets 3 straight times. He must be talking about the regular season, since Orlando has never beaten Houston in the playoffs … ever. But even in the regular season, that statement is still bogus. They obviously didn’t play 3 times during the regular season, but the Magic did win both games that season. However, they didn’t win the final game between them the previous season, so even that is off base.
Even if Shaq was trying to zing the Pacers — which he wasn’t, as he reiterated later in the show that the Magic had 17 off days between games — the Magic would have had 20 days off after beating the Bulls in the second round (which Shaq said was the Eastern Conference finals). Not only was the basis of his argument completely imaginary, he botched the numbers that he imagined. The guy can’t even get his made-up stats right.
Other than that, pretty strong argument that’s zero percent based in fact. I mean, if your team sweeping a regular season series — which was two games and not three, no big D — and then getting beat 4-0 doesn’t prove that your team was the best, then I don’t know what does. Shaq also probably thinks he beat Hakeem Olajuwon one-on-one after the Finals.
This just goes to show that you’ve got to be careful when you’re rewriting history sitting a man away from a guy who actually knows what happened. If we let Shaq have his way, he’d be a 19-time champion who taught Rakim how to rap and taught the world that a leather vest with no shirt underneath is the epitome of men’s style. Good thing Kenny and Charles are around to set him straight.