When it comes to the greatest players of all-time the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan is often mentioned amongst the top 10. Shaquille O’Neal is often up there too, with some debates raging over whether he belongs above or below Duncan. In recent comments talking about his playing days, Shaq admitted he was nothing like Duncan, or former Spurs great David Robinson.
Shaquille O’Neal Praises Duncan, Robinson
During a recent Inside the NBA segment on TNT, Shaq gave praise to former Spurs Tim Duncan and David Robinson. The topic arrived as Shaq’s TNT colleagues were discussing the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid compared to another NBA big man.
“When people say ‘you don’t need to be Shaq,’ Shaq wasn’t Tim Duncan. Shaq wasn’t David Robinson..I couldn’t step out and shoot the jumper, I couldn’t take the ball coast to coast,” O’Neal said.
The big man was a brute force in the paint, dominating his opponents. However, he realizes that Duncan and Robinson brought a different skill set to the game. Both players were able to use outside shot techniques that Shaq didn’t readily possess.
In addition, they tended to have agility on the court that Shaq may not have always had. Instead, Shaq was known for monstrous dunks and intimidating opponents who even considered driving the lane.
Shaq vs. Duncan Debate Continues
Both Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan have racked up multiple accolades and championship rings. The NBA title count sits at 5-4 in favor of Tim Duncan, although Shaq has an asterisk on the first Spurs championship. That said, their importance to the game amongst all-time greats is a constant debate for many analysts and fans.
Shaq was a 15-time All-Star, 14-time All-NBA, two-time NBA scoring champion, three-time All-Defensive player, and the 1999-00 NBA MVP. He racked up over 13,000 rebounds in his day, along with 28,596 points and 2,732 blocks. One of the big flaws often associated with him was free-throw shooting, leading to the “Hack-a-Shaq” coaching option.
During his Spurs days, Tim Duncan not only helped them achieve five championships but also accumulated numerous accolades as well. He’s a 15-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA players, two-time NBA MVP, and 15-time All-Defensive player. In addition, his career stats include 26,496 points, 15,091 rebounds, 4,225 assists, and 3,020 blocked shots.
On ESPN’s ranking of the top 10 players of all-time, Shaq came in at No. 10, with Duncan a few spots ahead of him (and the late Kobe Bryant) at No. 8 overall. David Robinson was placed at the No. 24 spot.
As one would expect, Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson are both in the Hall of Fame, with Duncan set to join them. All three players are deserving of their praise, and it’s great to see that Shaq humbly recognizes what sets the Spurs legends apart. Visit our Spurs news page for more of the latest team and player updates.