“Got to Get the Magic Johnson Routine Down”: 12-Year-Old Shaquille O’Neal Worked on ‘Magic Moves’ After Facing a Larry Bird Lookalike

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Magic Johnson impressed each younger child in the ’80s decade, even 12-year-old Shaquille O’Neal. Before rising up to develop into the 7’1″ dominant middle, Shaq aspired to be taught basketball and develop into a playmaker similar to Magic. Watching Johnson play for the Lakeshow was certainly an expertise that might form Shaq’s fundamentals in the sport.

Shaq’s step-father, Sergeant Phillip A. Harrison, served in the United States Army and was posted in Germany when Shaq was younger. Shaq had befriended a younger white child named Mitch Riles in Germany then. Riles had an uncanny similarity to Larry Bird with the identical lengthy hair and, as Shaq calls it, ‘ugly nostril.’ Furthermore, Riles was a nice shooter whereas taking part in basketball as nicely.

Considering himself as Magic Johnson on this case, Shaq figured he had to be taught to dribble and make the no-look cross to emerge as a higher participant between the two. Sharing this expertise, Shaq described how the duo would typically enact their made-up situations of Magic vs. Bird and Celtics vs Lakers.

Further elaborating on this expertise from 1984, right here is an excerpt from Diesel’s autobiography, ‘Shaq Uncut‘, that additional describes this expertise intimately.

So he’s bought the Bird factor down, so now I’ve bought to get the Magic Johnson routine down. That means I’ve bought to find out how to dribble, make the no-look cross, all that stuff. We’re on the market day-after-day taking part in Magic vs. Bird, Celtics vs. Lakers, and I’m studying abilities that massive males don’t ever present. I’m creating some strikes.

I’m nicely over six ft tall at this level, however I’m nonetheless awkward, nonetheless haven’t grown into my physique. My footwork is sweet, and I’ve bought my ‘Magic’ strikes, however I can’t bounce that nicely and I can’t dunk. I’m starting to surprise if it’s ever going to occur for me.”

As a 12-year-old, being 6 ft tall was certainly a huge stature for a child. Shaquille O’Neal had embraced his physique and realized that this may very well be his biggest asset whereas he developed his basketball abilities and prowess.

Eventually, Shaq turned the 7’1″ large we all know of him at this time. His unimaginable physique gave him a distinctive benefit over anybody as a middle when he began in the NBA. Perhaps, thanks to Magic Johnson inspiring younger Shaq, at this time we bear in mind Diesel’s legacy as arguably the biggest middle to have performed in the league.

Shaq studying his abilities early from Magic Johnson’s play helped him hone his basketball fundamentals

Shaq studying the highest degree of abilities and making an attempt to emulate Magic Johnson enormously honed his abilities. All of this contributed to him turning into considered one of the most dominant facilities to terrorize the league in the ’90s and the early 2000s.

Shaq additionally adopted in his idol, Magic Johnson’s footsteps in basketball. Moving from his draft group, Orlando Magic, to the LA Lakers in 1995, Shaq claimed to be the first massive man to go ‘coast to coast.’ Like Johnson, Shaq received three championship rings with the Lakers, even rising as the Finals MVP on all three events.

As considered one of the first massive males to play on each side of the coast, Shaq was extraordinarily happy with his ball management and handles. He introduced with him a distinctive sense of dominance that allowed him to shatter boards and posterize rivals together with his beautiful dunks. All of those culminated in the insane success the Big Man loved, as a basketball participant, that lives with him to at the present time.

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