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In honor of Shaq’s birthday, here’s his rookie year highlights (VIDEO)

Mar 6, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

Happy birthday to Shaquille O’Neal. The Big Candle (at least for today).

For you youngsters out there who know Shaq as the guy who argues with Charles Barkley every Thursday, or know him from his stints in Cleveland and Boston at the end of his career, you should know he’s one of the best centers this game has ever seen. And young Shaq was an insanely good athlete for his size. For any size.

Here are some highlights of Shaq’s rookie year in Orlando, when he was still so quick and even then more powerful than an NBA backboard. Enjoy.

  1. fanofevilempire - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    the BIG cake, the man was a powerful force down low.
    remember the coast to coast @ the all star game.
    happy b’day to the BIG cake

  2. qpoiu1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    The concept of dominance

  3. mtminadeo - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Talk about a guys game who would translate to today’s game. He would have probably put up bigger numbers now then back then with the size of 5’s today. I’ve never seen Dwight do alot of things a young Shaq could.

    • fm31970 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      Never will either.

    • badintent - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      For a second he look liked Wilt.. For a second.Check out Wilt Chambertain Archive on Youtube. 50 points a game for Wilt. led the NBA in assists. Rebounding, Would have led in block shots for the season and for triple doubles as well had they kept records in his time.

  4. loungefly74 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    oh man…love the “dive to the floor/saving the ball” sequence. awesome. wow…how agile he was. so fresh. forever will love the Big Aristotle. helping the Lakers get 3 titles is a lifetime pass from me.

  5. flyrocket31 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    SHAQ FU!

  6. dirtydavis - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    He was an offensive force… What about defense?

    • bougin89 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Just take a look at this stat line:

      29.7 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 3.0 BPG, 0.5 SPG while shooting 57.4 FG% 79 games played in the 1999-2000 season.

      He controlled the paint on both ends of the floor. In his prime I’m not sure anyone was as good as he was at center. He was the total package.

      • fm31970 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Um, free throw shooting percentage. He was a horrible free throw shooter.

        Better than Wilt? Child, please!

      • bougin89 - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM


        Wilt Chamberlain was just as bad at shooting free throws. You clearly don’t know much about Wilt Chamberlain.

        Shaq career FT%: 52.7
        Wilt career FT%: 51.1

      • dirtydavis - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        Well– that stat line is pretty impressive but it never translated to MVP, Defensive player of the year or 1st All NBA defensive team. When you said total package I thought about Magic and LBJ. Now those guys can do it all

      • bougin89 - Mar 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM

        That would be incorrect. He won 1 MVP. 3 Finals MVP. He was never all NBA 1st team thanks to Dikembe Mutombo but he was selected to All NBA 2nd team defense 3 times. Also, Steve Nash basically stole 2 MVP’s from him…

  7. bougin89 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    With the Magic and Lakers Shaq was just insanely dominant. He was a great all around center, save for his free throw shooting of course.

  8. raidmagic - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Thanks for the video, as a long time Magic fan it makes me long for the good old days of Shaq and Penny

  9. whitey11177 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    my favorite shaq article of all time,18522/

  10. lrical - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Got shaq down on my iPhone.

  11. kb2408 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    In my opinion, Shaq is the fourth or fifth best center ever. I rank him behind Wilt, Kareem and Hakeem. And it’s a toss up between him and Russell, though I’d take Shaq (here come the Russell lovers telling me he’s the greatest center ever…please!). But even for a guy who was so dominant and had such a great career, he still underachieved. He could’ve been the greatest…with more dedication to his body and game. The 3 years the LAKERS won titles with him and Kobe were the most dominating performances in the Finals I have ever seen. Shaq made 7ft men look like little boys.

    • mgutz - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Pretty close to my list: Wilt, Russell (can’t argue the rings), Kareem, Shaq, Hakeem.

  12. progress2011 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:50 PM


    Maybe the next commish will allow the return of ” Power B-Ball ” !!!

    Enough of this pretty-boy, finesse don’t touch me stuff.

    Men with “Testosterone” appreciate POWER, CONTACT & WINNER TAKE ALL !!!

  13. mgutz - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Shaq belongs up there with Chamberlain and Russell. I’m not old enough to appreciate those two but I have to believe if Shaq played when they did, he would have competed right with them.

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