Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, and History Redefined

Ed WorvieContributor IJuly 11, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 20:  Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat holds up his new #32 jersey over Coach Stan Van Gundy (L) during a press conference to offically announce his arrival to the Miami Heat July 20, 2004 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. O'Neal was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler and a future first-round draft pick on July 14.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Many people seem to be criticizing LeBron James this week. I've heard and read several comparisons to other players' greatness versus that of LeBron, including Michael Jordan, Magic, Larry Bird etc.  

But I noticed all of those "haters" failed to mention Shaquille O' Neal.

Shaq was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in 1992. He won rookie of the year. He led them to the finals in 1995 but they were swept by the Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston Rockets.

Shaq bolted after that season to L.A. as a free agent. Of course the Lakers went on to win three championships with "The Diesel" under center. He picked up his fourth ring with his third team, coincidentally the Miami Heat.

O'Neal nearly cherry picked his fifth title with, in another coincidence, LeBron James.

Shaq is a sure hall of famer! He is one of the most popular players in the history of the NBA.

Was Shaq's career tainted because he played for several teams?

Was it tainted because he left the team that drafted him on the cusp of a championship?

LeBron spoke this week of winning seven, eight, or even nine championships! I think he knew that would be impossible in Cleveland. He may have won a couple and had a nice career there; but LeBron is shooting to be the best ever—to be considered better then M.J., Kobe, Shaq, Wilt, Magic, Kareem, etc.

He's going to have to get several rings. You could see the excitement in his face because he knows the possibilities that arise when you put three great players together.

10 years from now people will hardly remember that first team LeBron played on. He could very well be a 35 year old billionaire with 10 rings. He'll probably own his own team.

Could that happen in Cleveland? Probably not.

Could it happen now? Possibly.

He may end up buying the Cavs! Now wouldn't that be ironic?