Note: This is the third in a series of posts on the most evil Lakers of all-time. Yesterday, we named our honorable mentions and the #5 most evil Laker of all-time, Vlade Divac. Now, the fourth most evil Laker of all-time: Shaquille O'Neal.
The argument could be made that Shaquille O'Neal for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and table scraps was one of the best three trades in Sacramento Kings history. In fact, here are the three trades that most aided the Kings' quest for a championship:
- Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber
- Shaq for Lamar, etc.
- Mike Bibby for Jason Williams
Well, there you go. Shaq getting traded out of L.A. was a seminal moment in Sacramento. The dynasty seemed over, with the Detroit throttling fresh on our minds. Shaq getting pushed out made it official. And it made all of us so, so happy.
Why? Well, that's easy to see:
- 2000 Western Conference 1st Round, Game 1: Shaq gets 46 points, 17 rebounds. Lakers win by 10.
- 2000 W.C. 1st Round, Game 2: Shaq gets 23 points, 19 boards and 6 assists. Lakers win by 24.
- 2000 W.C. 1st Round, Game 5: Shaq gets 32 and 18 in a Lakers win. Series over.
- 2001 W.C. Semis, Game 1: Shaq gets 44 points, 21 boards and 7 blocks. Lakers win.
- 2001 W.C. Semis, Game 2: 43 and 20. Lakers win,
- 2001 W.C. Semis, Game 3: 21 and 18 in only 35 minutes. Lakers win.
- 2001 W.C. Semis, Game 4: 25 and 10. Lakers win. Series over.
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 1: Only 26 and 9, but the Lakers win.
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 2: 35 and 12, but the Lakers lose. (!)
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 3: 20 and 19. Lakers lose. (!!)
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 4: 27 and 18, and a quixotic miss-leading-to a wide-open-three-from-Big-Shot-Brob at the end of the game. Lakers win.
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 5: Only 28 and 7. Lakers lose. (!!!)
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 6: 41 and 17. He almost as many free throws attempts (17) as entire Kings team (25). Lakers win, prompting worldwide conspiracy theories.
- 2002 W.C. Finals, Game 7: Memories of this game have actually been surgically removed from my brain. But I found a boxscore that indicates a Lakers win with Shaq getting 35 and 13.
So, understand me when I say that the Shaq trade was the second greatest trade in Sacramento Kings history. It's not because our fortune is ultimately tied to the fortune of LA Lakers - it just was at the time. And that trade gave us a belated window, if barely cracked. Of course, Webb and Doug got shipped out shortly thereafter, and Vlade was packing, as well. But still. The day Shaq left L.A. was the most hopeful day in Sacramento since Game 7. That should prove the dark power the man holds over us.
Next up: The third most evil Laker of all-time! Hint: He was almost (kinda) a King this season!