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|
|1997-12-23||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|
|2002-04-03||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|
|2005-11-04||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|
|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|
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 ;-)