Shaquille O'Neal was left shook by ESPN reporter's claim that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan "couldn't fill LeBron James' shoes"!
2024/04/02

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Leaving Shaquille O'Neal stunned and bewildered is no simple feat, but in 2019, Ryan Hollins delivered such a daring statement on television that it nearly prompted the legendary big man to walk off the set.

"GOAT" discussions are a regular occurrence on basketball shows, and during a June 2019 episode of First Take, Ryan Collins boldly asserted that he considers LeBron James to be the greatest player of all time.

O'Neal, in response, said:

"You said LeBron James is the greatest player ever? What about Michael [Jordan] and Kobe [Bryant]? So you're just going to pass Kobe up like that?"

Hollins responded:

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"I'm going to pass Kobe up, I'm going to look at Michael…"Kobe Bryant…or Michael Jordan couldn't fill LeBron's shoes, the impact that he's had with different teammates with different organizations."

Hollins' statement left O'Neal utterly astounded.

"Would you be mad if I just walked off the show?" O'Neal said.

Of course, O'Neal wouldn't tolerate any disrespect towards Kobe, with whom he shared three championship victories as a member of the Lakers

Hollins made the argument that LeBron's superior playmaking skills made him a better player than Jordan.

"Are you aware that [Lebron] doubled and tripled Michael Jordan in assists? Assists make other players better now," Hollins said.

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O'Neal countered with the number of championship rings as his response.

"Michael Jordan is what in the finals? 6-0. And what is LeBron in the finals?"

At the time the episode was aired, James had won 3 NBA championships. These championships were achieved with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Shaquille O'Neal doesn't think that Steph-KD Warriors can beat Jordan's Bulls

Hollins reaffirmed his claim by asserting that the Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant, who defeated James and the Cavaliers twice in the finals, could outperform Jordan's Bulls.

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"They would run laps around this Bulls team. Are you kidding?" he said.

"What era are we playing? We're playing in the big-boy Era where you could knock people in the hands or in this little cupcake era where you can't touch [anyone]?" O'Neal responded.

"I think they win in both eras," Hollins answered.

O'Neal was so surprised by the statement that he urged Hollins to stop.

"Whoever's paying [Hollins] to say all this stuff, I will pay you double to make him stop," O'Neal said.

James would trail behind Bryant and Jordan in the GOAT discussion if championship rings were the primary criterion. Nevertheless, it's important to note that there is no definitive answer to the question of who truly deserves the title of the greatest of all time.

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