Shaquille O’Neal was a beast. He was huge, physical and strong, but with the quick footwork of a small forward. His combination of size and athleticism could only be compared to Wilt Chamberlain, another absolutely dominant player of his era. Shaq calling himself MDE wasn’t all hyperbole.
Just how tough was Shaq to guard? Ask Nazr Mohammed.
The 17-year NBA veteran listed the six toughest players he ever had to guard in a story at the Players’ Tribune, and Shaq was at the top of the list.
The morning after you played Shaq, it always felt like you were in a fight. You were sore from head to toe.
This probably won’t shock people, but Shaq was the most dominant big man I’ve ever faced. He’s in a class of his own. Shaq’s the player who kept me up at night wondering, “How the hell am I going to stop him?” Or, more realistically, slow him down, because nobody could stop him….
In order to guard him, or at least attempt to guard him, you had to do your work early. That meant getting back on defense quickly and trying to meet him at the free throw line. From there, you’d basically brace yourself for impact in a collision that you were physically incapable of winning.