SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Shaquille O'Neal

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NBA top fives are in the air. Kevin Durant gave his list two weeks ago, and now, one of Durant's picks has made his own choices.

In an interview with The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, former Los Angeles Lakers (and Orlando Magic ... and Miami Heat ... and a few other teams) big man Shaquille O'Neal was asked his all-time starting five. His answer:

"Bill Russell won 11 championships. Charles Barkley is my guy, but I like Karl Malone. Then there's the guy who made me who I am -- Dr. J [Julius Erving]. I've got Michael [Jordan] at the two. Then, I'm going to go with the big guard with Magic Johnson at the one."

Now, O'Neal made sure NOT to put an exclamation point on his list, saying:

"I see a problem with answering these questions. A lot of people get their feelings hurt. Then some of you guys [reporters] be trying to start trouble, like Shaq leaving Kobe [Bryant] off. Then it's Shaq and Kobe.

"But that's my top five for playing reasons and what they did. Russell doesn't have high [statistical] numbers, but with 11 championships, nobody is beating that."

We're not doing that, Shaq! We know you're mending fences with former teammate Kobe Bryant and certainly wouldn't leave him off as a dig. Heck, he wouldn't be on this writer's top five, either -- not because Kobe hasn't been great (he has), but when you get to the upper reaches of the NBA's all-timers list, it's really, really, really competitive.

Having said that, O'Neal did make some interesting choices; Malone and Erving, in particular, don't appear on a great deal of these lists. So we ask you:

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He went too soon: Darryl Dawkins, aka Chocolate Thunder, aka Dr. Dunk, died Thursday at age 58.

His combination of personality and backboard-shattering dunks made him a player no hoops fan could forget. So it's only natural that a social media outpouring followed the news, featuring current and former Philadelphia 76ers, big-time dunkers, other stars past and present, and even those who never played in the NBA:

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Five years ago today, LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach. But while his announcement garnered the most attention, he wasn't the only high-profile player to switch jerseys that summer. We revisit the other major "decisions" made that fateful summer, and which moves warrant a thumbs up -- or thumbs down.

Note: Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and Yao Ming all re-signed with their respective clubs and therefore weren't included in the discussion.
•       •       •      

Chris Bosh: From Toronto Raptors to Miami Heat

Thumbs up

Prior to "The Decision," Bosh swapped digits going from The 6 to the 305, incentivized by a "secret" agreement from LeBron to form a new Big 3 in Miami. The result: $110.1 million, one asinine welcome pep rally, five consecutive All-Star appearances, and not one, not two - well, we all know how that went.

Chris BoshGetty Images, USA Today Sports

Amar'e Stoudemire: From Phoenix Suns to New York Knicks

Thumbs down

Concerns over his health led Amar'e to desert Phoenix for the Knicks' $100 million money grab. He was a Broadway hit while clinching three straight playoff berths, but fans turned on him (and the team) in a New York minute once injuries and a lack of chemistry with Carmelo Anthony made the franchise a punchline.

Amare StoudemireGetty Images

Carlos Boozer: From Utah Jazz to Chicago Bulls

Thumbs down

Boozer was productive in Chicago (averaging 15.5 points and 9.0 points per game), but the team could not overcome his horrible D, Derrick Rose's injuries or their Miami rivals to make his tenure a success. His Midwest move netted him close to $80 million, but resulted in an acrimonious divorce reminiscent of his exit from Utah.

Carlos BoozerGetty Images

David Lee: From New York Knicks to Golden State Warriors

Thumbs up

Despite losing his spot in the rotation this year, Lee's decision to bolt Broadway was profitable both on and off the court. The stat-stuffing forward pocketed $80 million in a sign-and-trade deal that helped him escape the NBA's version of Alcatraz for greener (and championship gold) pastures.

David LeeGetty Images

Shaquille O'Neal: From Cleveland Cavaliers to Boston Celtics

Thumbs up

At this juncture of his career, Shaq was in full title-chasing mode, willing to latch on to any squad with a glimmer of title hopes. That led to a forgettable, injury-riddled season on the court; but a wildly entertaining year off it, because, well, he's Shaq. Now can we get the "Shaq statue" a permanent home in Harvard Square?

ShaqGetty Images

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The world has its fair share of enormous human beings and big personalities, but never has someone combined the two quite like Shaquille O'Neal. The Big Aristotle (or insert nickname of your choice here) turns 43 today, which may or may not make us feel old but definitely reminds us of the many reasons he'd be a blast to celebrate with.

10. He would dominate karaoke.

Shaq RapFocus on Sport/Getty Images

9. He might show up with a white tiger like he did for his "Scarface"-themed 34th birthday.

Shaq TigerJohn Parra/FilmMagic

8. ... Or a panda. Look at this panda!

Shaq PandaLei Yuandong/ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

7. We'd probably hang with famous people.

Shaq ClintonVince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

6. We could wear whatever we want. Gingham on gingham, plaid on plaid ...

Shaquille O'’ Illustration

5. ... Anyone who can rock overall jorts has to know how to have fun.

Shaq OverallsSGranitz/WireImage

4. We'd reminisce about his time in Orlando.

3. And Los Angeles. (He'd tell everyone how he *really* feels about Kobe. Possibly during karaoke.)

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

2. He would never object to a spontaneous dance party.

Shaq DancingKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

1. By the end of the night, there'd be many "quotatious" memories.

Shaquille O'NealAP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Shaq in a Marc Stein Q&A from 2008: "I don't live my life trying to win things back. In this world we live in, they either like you or they don't. But I'm not going to be the one trying to go out of my way to get you to like me. Nothing in the world that someone can say or do will make me go into a depression and drink rat poison."

Cheers to that! Happy birthday, Shaq.

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Eli and Peyton Manning's "Football on Your Phone" video blew up on the Internet this week, amassing nearly 5 million views in two days. Now the younger Manning says his rap career is likely "one-and-done," meaning he might not reach the heights of certain athletes who tried hip-hop. Still, with one big hit and widespread love, he already has passed a few ill-fated would-be rappers. Who's the best? Click the images below to make your picks!

Rank: Athletes Who Tried Hip Hop

1985 Chicago Bears

1985 Chicago Bears

Known for: "Super Bowl Shuffle"

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Known for: "K.O.B.E."

The Golf Boys

The Golf Boys

Known for: "Oh, Oh, Oh" and "2.Oh"

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson

Known for: "40 Bars" (under the name Jewelz)

Roy Jones Jr.

Roy Jones Jr.

Known for: "Y'all Must've Forgot"

Eli & Peyton Manning

Eli & Peyton Manning

Known for: "Football on Your Phone"

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

Known for: "Shaq Diesel" (and four other albums)

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders

Known for: "Prime Time" and "Must Be the Money"

Chris Webber

Chris Webber

Known for: "Gangsta, Gangsta" (under the name C. Webb)

Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

Known for: "My World" (as Ron Artest)

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