Shaquille O’Neal was bored en route to his third consecutive NBA Finals MVP for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002.
The Diesel says Nets center Todd MacCulloch didn’t exactly present him with the greatest of challenges.
O’Neal averaged a ridiculous 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, completing the four-game sweep in his native New Jersey.
What was your favorite NBA Finals moment, period?
O’Neal: “That was my first one, right? The Pacers? Because after making it to the Finals in ’94 and getting embarrassed by Hakeem Olajuwon, I said to myself, ‘If I ever go back, I gotta put on a performance so dominant that it won’t be a question who the champ is…’ and then, I had another thing motivating me. Rik Smits used kill me when I was younger. So I know he’s way older. He came in the game — ‘Oh yeah, Shaq’s a dog. He’s the same ol’ Shaq, giving out elbows to the face and in your mouth and in your nose …’
“I’m coming to take this trophy by any means necessary. So there was something that I had to prove and set an example and something that had to be done because, if we don’t win that first one, they’ll probably break us up and it’ll be a lot more negative stuff to talk about.”
The one against the Nets
O’Neal: “It was boring … It was boring because, what was that center’s name? Todd MacCulloch. Todd MacCulloch playing me? Stop it. You know what’s crazy? I actually got mad when we were playing in Jersey. You think Todd MacCulloch is going to stop me at the crib in Jersey in front of my grandma and grandpa? Sheeeeeit! No. Stop it.”