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Shaq, could three-peat Lakers beat peak Jordan Bulls? ‘Of course. Yes. Easily.’

Classic NBA

1998: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers during the Bulls’ game versus the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What else did you expect him to say?

Elite competitors, champions, and all-time greats — and Shaquille O’Neal is all those things — always believe they can win. It’s part of what makes them the very best. So when Shaq appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and was asked if the three-peat Lakers could have beaten peak Michael Jordan Bulls, there was only one possible answer.


“I would have killed Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Cartwright, yea.”

True, but those guys would have had elite defenders — Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman — dropping down to help with aggressive doubles. Those Bulls title teams never saw a duo as dynamic as Shaq and Kobe (with all due respect to John Stockton and Karl Malone), but those Lakers’ teams never faced Jordan or that level of defense on the wing.

There are so many reasons this would be a great matchup:

• Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant
• Phil Jackson vs. Phil Jackson
• Jackson going to hack-a-Shaq
• Jackson complaining to the media about hack-a-Shaq
• Dennis Rodman on Kobe Bryant
• Rick Fox being asked about Rodman’s hair
• Ron Harper vs. Ron Harper

We can go on and on. It’s entertaining to think about... and we’ve got the time to think about it since there are no playoffs this weekend.