Shaquille O’Neal On Watching Prime Michael Jordan Play: “It’s Like Seeing God”


In basketball, few names resonate as powerfully as Michael Jordan. His impact on the game transcends mere statistics; it’s a spiritual connection that leaves fans and players alike in awe.

Recently, Shaquille O’Neal, the larger-than-life former Orlando Magic center, shared his profound experience of witnessing Jordan in his prime. His words were nothing short of reverence:


“I don’t know what God looks like; it’s like seeing God.”



Picture a young Shaquille O’Neal, determined not to be “dunked on” by the legendary MJ. But reality hit hard when Jordan effortlessly slipped past him, laid the ball up off the glass, and left the crowd breathless. Shaq’s realization was immediate: “F**k, this guy is real.” It wasn’t just about physical prowess; it was the intangible quality that set Jordan apart.

O’Neal burst onto the NBA scene in 1992, drafted by the Orlando Magic. His impact was seismic, and he reached the NBA Finals in 1995, even defeating Jordan and the Bulls in the playoffs along the way. While Shaq didn’t replicate Jordan’s championship success, he carved out his own niche as one of the most dominant players the game has ever seen. His physical presence and skill set were unmatched, yet he remained in awe of the man who redefined greatness.

The “greatest of all time” (GOAT) conversation is a perpetual carousel. While many factors contribute to this debate, Jordan’s resume remains unparalleled: six NBA titles, six Finals MVPs, a perfect 6-0 Finals record, 10 scoring titles, five regular-season MVPs, one Defensive Player of the Year award, 14 All-Star selections, and 11 All-NBA teams. It’s a legacy etched in basketball lore—a standard that might never be surpassed.

During the same podcast, JJ Redick posed an intriguing query. He wondered whether the NBA’s expansion during Jordan’s era diluted the competition. After all, six teams were added to the league, resulting in 90 additional players. While the watered-down argument persists, Jordan’s greatness remains undiminished. His impact reverberates through generations, inspiring players to strive for more.

Shaquille O’Neal’s comparison of watching prime Michael Jordan to seeing God encapsulates the awe and reverence that fans felt during MJ’s reign. It wasn’t just about basketball; it was a divine encounter. When the lights dimmed, and the sneakers squeaked on the hardwood, it felt like witnessing something beyond the mortal realm—a glimpse of greatness that defied explanation.

In the end, whether you call it basketball or a spiritual experience, Michael Jordan’s legacy endures. His jersey hangs in the rafters, but his influence resides in the hearts of those who watched him soar. As Shaq aptly put it, “It’s like seeing God.”

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