Shaquille O'Neal announced his intention to retire from the NBA on Wednesday, which will culminate one of the most memorable careers in NBA history. There's no doubting Shaq's greatness, though he may be more well-known for his personality than his play. He was the original class clown of the NBA, a torch he happily passed to Gilbert Arenas during Arenas' Washington days.
Anyway, since he's retiring, it was worth sharing this video of him absolutely obliterating Gheorghe Muresan during a game early in Shaq's career. Specifically, the video comes from a 1996 game where Shaq ended up with 49 points and 17 rebounds, in by far his best contest against this franchise.
Some other essential facts about this game:
- Shaq had 17 points in the second quarter alone.
- The Magic still didn't pull away because the Bullets mounted an inspired run, led by Juwan Howard. The 5,000 year-old man (slight exaggeration) had 27 in the game, including 23 by the end of three quarters.
- With Shaq dominating, it took Penny Hardaway's 30 points to carry Orlando to the overtime win. Two months later, Penny and Shaq played their final game.
- Rasheed Wallace was a force for the Bullets before getting hurt.
- The Bullets got a combined 43 points from Chris Whitney, Ledell Eackles and Tim Legler off the bench. Now that's a blast to Bullets past.
Mostly, though, this game was about Shaq and his clowning of Muresan. I love you, Gheorghe, but that was embarrassing.