The early 2000s Los Angeles Lakers were one of the great dynasties in NBA history as led by Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, they won three straight championships.
The first one was the toughest for the Lakers but after that, they were dominant, going 15-1 in the 2001 playoffs and then 15-4 in 2002.
O’Neal was the best player in the world during those years, winning three consecutive Finals MVP awards. Specifically in 2002, the New Jersey Nets had no answer for him as O’Neal averaged 36.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists en route to an easy sweep.
In a recent interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, O’Neal talked about how bored he was during that series since the Nets had no one to guard him:
Shaq on playing Nets in ‘02 Finals: “It was boring.”
I actually got mad when we were playing in Jersey. You think Todd McCollough is going to stop me at the crib in Jersey in front of my grandma and grandpa?….Sheeeeeit! No. Stop it.”
– Via Scoop B Radio pic.twitter.com/E3a7rhqSMA
— ???? Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson ???? (@ScoopB) September 17, 2021
The Lakers had one tough series in 2002, beating the Sacramento Kings in seven games in the Western Conference Finals before going on to sweep the Nets to win it all.
Unfortunately, this was the Lakers’ last championship with O’Neal on the roster as they got back to the Finals in 2004 before losing to the Detroit Pistons. ‘Neal and Bryant then got into a rift that couldn’t be broken, causing O’Neal to be traded to the Miami Heat the following summer.
Regardless though, Shaq and Kobe will always be known as one of the greatest duos in NBA history and that dynasty will also be remembered as one of the greatest ever.
Shaq believes it’s championship or bust for Lakers in 2021-22
Recently speaking about the current Lakers roster, O’Neal has high expectations for them in 2021-22 as he agreed with Carmelo Anthony that it’s championship or bust.
O’Neal is no stranger to having big expectations and living up to them, so hopefully this Lakers team can take his advice in order to get back to the Finals this season, which would be the 20th anniversary of when O’Neal got bored against the Nets.
Who knows, maybe the Lakers will be playing the Nets once again considering they are the favorites to come out of the East.
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