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Shaquille O'Neal explains why he wasn't as tough on LeBron James compared to Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade
2024/04/02

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Shaquille O'Neal truly has one of the most decorated careers in NBA history. Four NBA titles and a plethora of individual accolades populate his hefty resume. Apart from the hardware, the Big Diesel also got to play with three of the greatest players in their prime: Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James.

LeBron figured it out early

In his book "Shaq Uncut: My Story," O'Neal touched upon the difference between the three stars.

He noted that he was least demanding on LeBron James among the three.

"I always tell people in terms of being tough on the young stars, I was a 10 with Kobe and a 4 with DWade and a 1 with LeBron. I didn't say anything to LeBron—didn't have to. He had it figured out at a very young age," Shaq wrote.

Shaq joined the Cleveland Cavaliers at the tail-end of his career. After winning a title in Miami, experts still believed Shaq still had in it him to guide a younger team to a championship.

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A 25-year-old LeBron James was already on top of the basketball world by the 2009-10 NBA season. All he needed was a ring on his finger. And the organization believed the Big Diesel was that one missing piece.

The Wine and Gold did pretty well with Shaq in the fold. They notched a 61-21 record — the best in the league. James also won his second straight MVP trophy. Perhaps this is the main reason why Shaq did not get into James' ear in his lone stint there.

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