Shaquille O’Neal stopped by Rucker Park last night to take in some of the action on the legendary Harlem court and talk about the upcoming re-release of his celebrated Reebok creation, the Shaqnosis. We also asked Shaq about his all-time starting five and his answer might give you a suprise.
Before the launch of the re-release of the Shagnosis, Shaq made an appearance at EBC Rucker Park, where fans flocked inside and out the colorful hardwood to get a snapshot with the four-time NBA champion.
Fat Joe was on hand and we could spot Jameer Nelson in the corner of the partitioned area behind the Rucker court where Shaq addressed the media. After a deluge of questions about the Shaqnosis, and repeated attempts to engage the Big Man about sneaker culture, we finally got a chance to ask him about his all-time starting team.
The impetus behind the question was based on Kobe Bryant‘s all-time team while speaking with John Ireland and Mike Trudell of ESPNLA 710 FM. When prompted by the hosts to name team, Kobe told them:
“It’s not very difficult for me. I’d go Magic (Johnson), (Michael) Jordan, (Larry) Bird, (Bill) Russell and Kareem (Abdul-Jabar).”
With that in mind, we wanted to hear Shaq’s all-time team to see if he would be as magnanimous as Kobe and neglect to put himself on the team. But Shaq did better than that and actually made two surprise choices, including one rival.
Here’s our brief back-and-forth:
Dime: After Kobe announced his all-time starting five, we wanted to hear yours. So who is your all-time starting five by position? And you can put [Bill] Russell at the four if you want [we love Russell].
Shaq: Magic [Johnson] at the one. [Michael] Jordan at the two. [Larry] Bird at the three. Hakeem [Olajuwon] at the five. (pause) [Charles] Barkley at the four.
Dime: Going against Hakeem was pretty tough, huh?
Shaq: Yeah, he was the only one I couldn’t intimidate. And he was undersized, but I liked him because he was like a dancer on the block. I hate watching a boring big man. But he could go left, right, slide and between his legs. Kareem was great, but when I was young my father almost beat me up for not learning the skyhook. I had to tell him, ‘Yo, that shit is boring’ and luckily Patrick Ewing was doing the jump hook, so I developed that. Kareem was probably the greatest, but Hakeem had more stuff on the block.
We’re a little perturbed he put his TNT mate in at the power forward slot, but Dream and the Round Mound of Rebound were the only differences from Kobe’s list. Plus, Shaq acknowledged Kareem was better, but he enjoyed Hakeem more. We’re still smarting from the Russell omission, though.
The re-release of Reebok’s Shaqnosis comes this Friday, July 12 for $115. A limited number of Shaqnosis OG black/white will be avaible at Finish Line, Foot Locker, Jimmy Jazz, Shiekh, DTLR, Shoe Palace and on Reebok.com.