On Monday, Manila time, legendary big man Shaquille O'Neal stoked the fires of controversy by comparing Laker greats to Bull greats.
The four-time NBA champion posted a photo on Instagram featuring what he considered to be the Los Angeles Lakers all-time best five-man team (Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, Shaq, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and their positional counterparts from the Chicago Bulls (Derrick Rose, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Horace Grant). The premise: Which team will triumph?
Shaq's take on the matter is that the Lakers team will demolish the Bulls team by a margin of 50 points.
As with any hypothetical comparisons of historical players, the post sparked a debate, and easily became one of the most discussed topics on Shaq's page, generating about 25,500 comments as of this writing.
Our take? With the talent level from positions one through three being roughly equal, the Lakers will win because that Bulls frontcourt is too ill-equipped to handle Shaq and Kareem, two of NBA history's most dominant scoring bigs. It won't be by 50 though. There are too many ball-dominant alphas on the Lakers whereas this Bulls team will be able to figure out the pecking order sooner.
The Lakers don't have to dip their fingers too deep in the pockets of NBA history to see examples of natural chemistry beating out sheer talent; their 2004 iteration featuring Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Shaq, and Kobe was soundly beaten by the less talented Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, 4-1.
Like Shaq's prediction though, our take is just an opinion that we have no way of proving.
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A seven-game series version, anyone?