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Michael Jordan Once 'Terrified' An NBA Legend For 'Whole Game,' Player Was 'Worried About Him'

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Michael Jordan Once 'Terrified' An NBA Legend For 'Whole Game,' Player Was 'Worried About Him'

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has admitted that he was “terrified” for a “whole” basketball match when he came up against Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan.

The 49-year-old retired American basketball player was drafted by Orlando Magic as the first overall draft pick in 1992.

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And O’Neal, who is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, came up against Jordan in his rookie NBA season.

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The ex-Los Angeles Lakers superstar clashed with Jordan’s Chicago Bulls on 12th January 1993 and Magic suffered defeat at the hands of Phil Jackson’s men.

Jordan scored 23 points in the Bulls’ 122-106 win over Magic, with a then-rookie O’Neal picking up an impressive 11 rebounds and scoring 19 points at the Amway Arena (now Amway Center) in Florida.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Only four days after the defeat, Magic travelled to the Chicago Stadium (now the United Center) and avenged their loss to the Bulls.

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The Chicago Bulls collided with Magic on 16th January 1993 and Jordan scored a whopping 64 points for his side, despite losing the match 124-128.

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Shaq, who scored 29 points against the Bulls in an epic thriller, said he was “worried” about MJ “dunking on me.”

Speaking on Inside the NBA on TNT, he said: “Since the statute of limitations is up -- I was terrified out there. The whole game.

“For one, he’s [MJ] the greatest player. Two, I was worried about him dunking on me and having to go back and face the fellas. And then three, he was just so hot.

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“Like, the stuff that I saw when I was in college on TV, it’s like really real. I was terrified.”

O’Neal left Magic in 1996 and went on to win three consecutive NBA championships with the LA Lakers, with Shaq lifting his fourth title with Miami Heat in 2006.

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Jordan, who retired for the third and final time in 2003, revealed in a 1997 interview that the last time he was “intimidated in basketball” was when he first saw Shaq.

Speaking to Slam magazine, the six-time NBA champion said: “[When was the last time] that I was intimidated in basketball? When I first saw Shaquille.

“How big he is. I mean, that was a short intimidation factor, but [laughs] I just couldn’t fathom how big he was.”

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Michael Jordan, Basketball, NBA

Adnan Riaz
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