Shaquille O’Neal isn’t holding back when it comes to his opinion about the San Antonio Spurs and big man Tim Duncan. The two competed on the hardwood multiple times over the years and during his time, Shaq captured four championships. He believes that Duncan, who is in the books for five NBA titles, shouldn’t be credited that many, though.
Shaq Calls Out Duncan, Spurs for 1999 Championship
The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship in five different years. The first of those arrived when The Admiral David Robinson had help from young, rising star Tim Duncan in 1999. However, that particular season also was shortened due to a lockout. That meant only 50 regular season games took place ahead of the playoffs.
Shaq believes that the shortened season is a reason to discredit the Spurs’ 1999 NBA title. He recently commented on a new episode of his podcast called The Big Podcast, sending a major message to Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
I’ll tell all of San Antonio to its face – you only have four. It’s an asterisk. That’s what I think. I would tell Mr. Duncan to his face you have four rings. It says you have five but the asterisks don’t count. In anything I do I never want asterisks about it.
The Spurs defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the NBA Finals after that shortened season. In all of the playoffs, San Antonio went 15-2, showing their dominance. It would take another four years for the Spurs to capture a second championship.
Shaq, Kobe, Duncan Ranked on Top 10 Players list
Shaquille O’Neal’s bold comments come on the heels of the recent ESPN list of the top 100 players of all time. On that list, we saw the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan in the top 10. ESPN named him the eighth-best player of all time. Just behind him at No. 9 and No. 10 were Kobe Bryant, and Shaq, respectively.
That could be part of why Shaq recently made the strong comments he did. If Duncan’s title was discredited, it would potentially push Kobe Bryant ahead of him on that list due to having won five titles.
It also would help generate questions as to whether Duncan is better than Shaq. The Big Diesel has four titles, three of which came during his Lakers’ career right after that Spurs’ title in 1999.
However, lists are mostly made for debates. All three players are certainly deserving of spots in the top 10 players of all time and should be proud of all their accomplishments. Ego may be getting in the way at this point as both Duncan and Kobe are headed to the Hall of Fame. Shaq’s already a member.
Should the 2019-20 NBA season eventually reach a conclusion and crown a champion, one has to wonder if Shaq will send a similar message to LeBron and the Lakers, assuming they win it all. He seems to believe that a shortened season makes a championship less meaningful, so time will tell if he keeps to that statement. Visit our Spurs news page to get more team and player news.