In the 1990s Shaquille O’ Neal (Shaq), broke backboards and changed the rules of the game. When Shaq was on the Orlando Magic in 1993, he made a put-back dunk that was so strong, it deflated the hydraulic system that holds up the backboard, and the goal ended up folding and lowering to the floor. This caused the National Basketball Association (NBA) to now always have a backup hoop / goal for every arena.
Shaq nearly hurt himself after pulling down the entire backboard on a dunk while playing against the New Jersey Nets. This showed the NBA that something needed to be done with the goals. They needed to be “shaq-proofed”.
During his career, Shaq was the most dominant center in the NBA no question. He averaged 23.7 points per game during his career, 10.9 rebounds per game, and has a player efficiency rating (a measure of per minute production, the average being15) of 26 with a total of 1206 games played during his career. You can see the statistics here. He would show no mercy on offense or defense, and was able to put up 30 points with 4 blocks easily like he was playing with children during his prime.
Because Shaq had continued to break the hoop, the league made changes to the materials of the backboards (This was the second time after Darryl Dawkins forced them to change it earlier). The zone defense was the biggest thing changed. Zone wasn’t allowed until Shaq started dominating. He even changed one rule now popularized as “Hack -a-Shaq”, this change meant players couldn’t foul opposing players on purpose that didn’t have the ball in their hands during the last 2 minutes of the game or they would reward the opposing teams with 2 free throws and the ball. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy was used against Shaq, where they would foul him because of his poor free throw percentage. During his entire career, Shaq made an average of 52.7% of his free throws per game.
Shaqs best season was with the Lakers during the (1999–2000) season, where he averaged 29.7 points per game. His second & third best season during his career with regards to points per game was with the Orlando Magic during the (1993–1994) & (1994–1995) season with an average of 29.3 points per game. He also played the most number of games in a season during the (1994–1995) season with the Orlando Magic. Shaq averaged the least amount of points made during his last season in the NBA (2010–2011) with the Boston Celtics and an average of 9.2 points per game. You can see these statistics for yourself here.
If you would like to learn more about the NBA and how they use statistics & data analytics I suggest you read “Basketball on Paper: Rules & Tools for Performance Analysis” , this book is considered to be the Money Ball book of basketball!
- Shaq caused the NBA to remake the hoop of the NBA .
- Shaq caused the Zone to be allowed, because of his domination.
- Shaq caused the NBA to create the rule “Hack-a-Shaq”.
- During his career Shaq was an above average dominating player.
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