When Shaquille O’Neal entered the NBA in 1992, he made an astounding statement right from his first game. There had been no other player physically dominant as much as Shaq was. The Orlando Magic rightly chose him as their first pick, but couldn’t hold on to him for long.
During his four years with the Magic, Shaq wonderfully shaped into one of the best players in the league. As a rookie, Shaq averaged 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds per game. The biggest achievement for Shaq as a Magic player came when he led his team to the 1995 NBA Finals. Although they got swept by the Houston Rockets, the Magic team defeated Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls en route to the finals.
During his time in Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal developed a destructive partnership with Penny Hardaway. The duo combined brilliantly to outplay their opponents for a span of four years. After Shaq left for the Lakers in 1996, Penny sustained a major knee injury that completely twisted his career.
Penny Hardaway thinks Orlando Magic could’ve won a championship if Shaquille O’Neal had stayed
Penny Hardaway recently connected with Richard Jefferson on a video chat, for ESPN. When asked what the team would have abled to accomplish if Shaq had stayed, Penny had a simple answer. Well, it is what most fans think as well. Here is Penny’s response to the question:
“I think with the way the movement was going, we obviously would have gotten other free agents and I think we would have at least won one championship. I do really feel that,” he said.
“Even though I got injured, that happened freakishly after Shaq left. Having Shaq on board would have equaled one championship. Shaq is just greatness man. And at the time of his career, he was just unstoppable. With us staying together and growing together, we would have at least had one, I can say that for sure,” Penny expressed
Unfortunately for Magic fans, Shaq left the team and joined the Lakers as a free agent in 1996. There, he formed a bittersweet relationship with Kobe Bryant along with whom he won the three-peat.
Shaq was so good in all three of the Finals that he received the Finals MVP on every occasion. Such was the dominance that the Big Aristotle brought on to the court. What do you think? If Shaq had stayed in Orlando, would the franchise have a championship to their name?