3. Shaquille O’Neal
Coming in at number three is Shaquille O’Neal’s performance in Game 1 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers set the tone for the entire series. Coming off an average performance in the infamous Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Shaq came back with a vengeance, scoring 43 points, grabbing 19 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks.
After surviving the Blazers scare, this game sent a message to not only the Pacers but the rest of the NBA that this Laker team was a force to be reckoned with. This Game 1 victory would eventually lead the Lakers to their first title since 1988, and the first of three straight championships.
Next: Mr. Sky Hook