Bizarro Tribute to Shaq’s Career

02 Jun

Shaquille O’Neal retired yesterday and that single tweet has created a lot of articles, comments, tweets and posts about his legacy, greatness, championships, all-stars games, charisma and other predictable stuff.

To balance that ocean of praise here’s a look at weak side of Shaquille O’Neal’s Career:
(Please don’t get me wrong, I think Shaq was one of the all-time greats, but he won massive reward at genetic lottery and probably could have been mythical GOAT… and kind of settled for way less than that.
So at least IMHO he left a taste of opportunity lost)

1) He had problems with his weight for at least half of his career.
Many of his stats [Minutes, TRB%, STL%, BLK%, TOV%, USG%] negatively correlated with his official weight.
And I won’t even mention and include those unofficial ones. To be fair, he was also getting older during that time but I’m pretty sure those 20 or 40 extra pounds have only accelerated that process.

2) His defense… had a bad reputation.
“Was it justified?” is probably a different topic but in retrospect it’s shocking that with his combination of rebounding, blocking, speed, size and agility he was never nominated to the first NBA All-Defensive Team!
And he was nominated to second NBA All-Defensive Team only 3 times!

3) He played less than 80% of possible games in regular season.
That’s one of the worst rates among players who played more than 1000 games.
For example, Antonio McDyess played more… and he had a career-threatening knee problems.

On the other hand Shaq’s injury history is all over the map and probably too long.
How many of those 45 entries could have been avoided with a better diet and/or preparation habits?

Date Description of Injury Official Weight Games Missed
1994-10-07 sprained right big toe (out 1 week) 301 offseason
1995-01-28 cut left heel 301 1
1995-04-19 sore left knee 301 1
1995-10-25 right thumb (broken bone, torn ligament) 301 19
1995-12-08 fractured right thumb 301 3
1996-01-06 strained left quadricep 301 3
1996-01-12 bruised left thigh 301 1
1997-01-03 sprained right ankle 300 1
1997-02-04 mild sprained right MCL 300 30
1997-10-28 abdominal strain 315 2
1997-11-21 abdominal strain 315 17
1997-12-23 hairline fracture in right wrist (out 2 weeks) 315 3
1999-02-11 right side abdominal strain 315 1
2000-04-08 sprained left ankle 315 2
2000-11-18 sprained left ankle 315 1
2001-01-28 sore right foot 315 4
2001-02-04 strained arch in right foot 315 2
2001-08-30 surgery on left small toe to correct claw toe deformity (out 6 weeks) 315 offseason
2001-12-22 Not included in database 315 5
2002-01-13 Not included in database 315 3
2002-02-06 sore feet 315 5
2002-04-03 sprained right wrist 315 2
2002-09-11 surgery on right big toe (out 6 weeks) 340 12
2003-02-16 sore left knee 340 3
2003-11-23 strained right calf 340 2
2004-01-24 strained right calf 340 13
2004-12-21 bruised left calf 325 1
2005-02-23 sprained left knee 325 3
2005-04-03 stomach virus 325 3
2005-04-19 stomach virus 325 2
2005-11-04 sprained right ankle (out 2-4 weeks) 325 18
2006-03-21 sprained right thumb 325 3
2006-04-18 rest before playoffs 325 2
2006-11-05 bruised left knee 325 2
2006-11-18 surgery on left knee to repair torn cartilage (out 4-6 weeks) 325 37
2007-04-10 rest before playoffs 325 3
2007-12-28 left hip bursitis and/or trade with Suns 325 19
2008-11-25 hip injury 325 1
2008-12-03 hip injury 325 1
2009-01-07 back spasms 325 1
2009-01-15 rest 325 1
2009-11-14 Not included in database 325 6
2010-03-01 surgery on right thumb (out indefinitely) 325 23
2010-11-02 bruised right knee 325 5
2011-02-21 sore right leg 325 33

FYI: List of injuries was created thanks to and
Official Weight was taken from Patricia’s Various Basketball Stuff.

4) He was one of the worst free-throws shooters ever.
To be precise he was 10th worst among those who played over 500 games.
And he shot so many of them that even slight improvement would have been significant for his team!
Yes, I know that he reportedly worked hard to improve but his mantra “I can make them when it counts” and his style of shooting IMHO suggested otherwise.

5) He destroyed promising Magic team with his decision to leave for nothing.
What’s even worse, he accepted less guaranteed money to go to Hollywood!
Orlando went from strong contenders to decade of mediocrity. Penny’s knees didn’t help but to date probably only LeBron James made a bigger positive and then negative impact on one team’s fortunes.

6) He was traded 3 times during his career.
And each time it was because of his contract’s demands.
For a player of this caliber it is unusual… and he probably thought he was worth more than he actually was.

Other than all of that he was awesome on and off the court and I will miss him ;-)


Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


Tags: , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Bizarro Tribute to Shaq’s Career

  1. Dave Johnson

    June 7, 2011 at 01:29

    There is no doubt that Shaq was an incredibly effective player, but this was due to his body not his fundamental basketball skill which is well below most of the other elite centers. Walt Bellamy was more fundamentally sound for heaven’s sake. I also think Shaq traveled, charged or committed 3 seconds about a third of the time without getting called for it.
    But no doubt he was effective.

  2. wiLQ

    June 7, 2011 at 12:07

    “I also think Shaq traveled, charged or committed 3 seconds about a third of the time without getting called for it.”
    I agree that he created a lot of dilemmas for referees ;-)
    But to his credit he was also fouled a lot which wasn’t accounted for because of his size.

  3. bchaikin

    August 8, 2011 at 03:58

    nice job on the website…

    from 96-97 to 03-04, in the 8 seasons he played for the lakers (ages 24-32), although he missed just over 1/5 of their regular season games, among all players in the league those 8 years combined he played just the 24th most minutes but (1) scored the 2nd most total points (56.6% ScFG%), (2) grabbed the 4th most total rebounds, and (3) blocked the 5th most total shots. those 8 seasons he averaged 27 pts/g, almost 12 reb/g, and 2.5 bs/g, yet committed just 3.1 to/g. not too shabby…


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