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Shaquille O’Neal: Michael Jordan ‘definitely the greatest player’ of all time

Shaquille O’Neal without question deserves placement in the pantheon of the best basketball players the NBA has ever seen. When it comes to the greatest, though, Shaq knows only one player has rightfully earned that esteemed designation.

Appearing on Friday’s edition of “Get Up” on ESPN, O’Neal said that Michael Jordan unequivocally is the NBA’s GOAT.

“Because Michael paved the way for all the great guys we have now; 6-0 in the Finals without a legitimate big man,” O’Neal said. “Went through a lot, took a year off, came back and won three more in a row. He’s definitely the greatest player.”

“… Scottie Pippen made a great point. You can’t say, ‘I’m the greatest player.’ You have to let your peers and everyone else say who the greatest player is.”

O’Neal also believes Jordan would dominate in the modern game, perhaps even more so than he did during his era. Shaq did manage to sneak in some self-reverence while doing so, though.

“He would average 45 and the league would be complaining about two players,” O’Neal said. “They’d be like: ‘Mike is too good and the kid named Shaq down in Orlando is too dominant. What are we going to do?'”

The narrative surrounding MJ’s unparalleled impact upon the game of basketball — not to mention his status as one of the most iconic professional athletes whose fame transcended sport — has been given renewed cultural relevance in light of “The Last Dance,” the smash-hit, 10-part ESPN documentary series currently airing on ESPN.

While there are players past and present who deserve having their names just beneath Jordan — such as O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to name a few — “His Airness” arguably is in a league of his own.