Shaq is a four-time NBA champion, a Hall of Famer, widely regarded as one of the league’s most dominant players and now has a permanent place among other Lakers legends outside the arena in Los Angeles. However, despite all of those career accomplishments, there is one thing that still wears on him to this day. The fact that he only won the NBA’s MVP award once in 2000.
O’Neal spoke with Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Golliver recently, and explained that he felt he should’ve had at least three MVP awards — Kobe, too — and knows exactly which ones he should have.
“LeBron [James] and myself are similar,” O’Neal said. “We could be MVP every year. But [the voters] don’t give it every year and he’s already got four. [I should have won] three, easily. Kobe should have won three, too. [I should have won] the two that Steve Nash got over me. It pisses me off. [Nash] knows.”
Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06 while with the Suns, but O’Neal feels those should belong to him. Shaq averaged 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 60.1% from the field in 04-05, and 20.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks per game, shooting 60% from the field in 05-06. Nash averaged 15.5 points, 11.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game with a 50.2/43.1/88.7 shooting split in 04-05 and then 18.8 points, 10.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game with a 51.2/43.9/92.1 split in 05-06.
O’Neal’s gripe in 04-05 is probably the most legitimate one, as he was as dominant as ever in his first season with the Miami Heat and his raw numbers stack up favorably against Nash — who did lead the league in assists that year and was one of the league’s most efficient players. The 05-06 season from Nash remains one of the most absurdly efficient shooting seasons we’ve ever seen in the league, and he still led the NBA in assists at 10.5 per game.
Despite Nash having great years to win those MVPs, it’s clear that Shaq is still heated that he wasn’t given those awards that he felt he more than earned.