Shaquille O’Neal struggles to keep a straight face as he acknowledges that Theo Ratliff would defeat him in the 2001 NBA Finals. “I love his wife, I love his girls, I have nothing to say,” he says.
As one of the most dominant players the NBA has ever seen, Shaquille O’Neal has always taken great delight in that fact. Very few players could compare to Shaq’s dominance when he was at his peak.
The storied LA Lakers center was surprisingly understated about his conduct in “The Big Podcast with Shaq.” When Theo Ratliff was questioned about how he believed he could defeat Shaq in the 2001 NBA Finals, O’Neal responded:
His wife and daughters are both loved by me, therefore I have nothing to add. Spice Adams, you are correct—you are the winner! He held me at bay. With Theo Ratliff, I was completely powerless. Just too attractive.
The best poker face belonged to Shaquille O’Neal, who may sincerely feel Ratliff could have stopped him.
Shaquille O’Neal fought practically every defendant in 2001 when he was at the height of his powers. The LA Lakers had won three straight championships because no one could stop him in a one-on-one match.
From his rookie year until his final season with the LA Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal averaged 27.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game.
Even more amazing stats came from his performance for the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
O’Neal produced 33.6 PPG, 14.1 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 20 games.
Shaq has faced some of the league’s top defenders throughout this span, including Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Dikembe Mutombo. They were powerless to stop the 7’2″, 320-pound behemoth in the paint.
Theo Ratliff believes that Shaquille O’Neal’s defense is the best approach to reduce his offensive potential.
In a recent interview, Theo Ratliff talked about the 2001 NBA Finals. He described his strategy for keeping Shaq under control.
I kind of figured out how to use my speed and athleticism to put Shaq in positions he doesn’t want to be in rather than just playing against him. particularly if I bring it up in this choice. e-roll. He was aware that he didn’t wish to shield him. He was superb.