Last night (June 6) in New York City, NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson sat down for a candid talk about all things life and basketball. The conversation was part of American Express’ Teamed Up series and did not disappoint with Jackson mention Shaq coming to practice nude and the Hall of Fame center noting his former head coaches of “sage” (wink, wink) during meditation sessions.
ESPN’s Hannah Storm served as the host and moderator and guided a conversation that offered tons of insight on what it takes to win championships (Jackson and O’Neal have 14 between them).
One particular moments fans will find interesting was when Storm asked Jackson about who were the greatest players he’s coached, sans O’Neal since he was sitting next to him. Michael Jordan comes to mind, and Jackson did mention him first, but he also spoke tremendously about Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Jackson noted that Pippen may be the greatest wing defender ever in the NBA while he marveled at the athleticism of the undersized but potent Rodman aka The Worm.
As for Shaq, he offered plenty of insight and jokes. He took credit for the NBA’s lack of big men with post games and said that he and Jackson “killed them off.” According to Shaq, instead of banging with him in the post, big men chose to pick and pop, leading to big guys who prefer to shoot from outside, like Dirk Nowitzki.
Makes sense. The mutual respect showed by both these legends was genuine and the stories they shared were simply epic (i.e. Jackson telling Shaq his records are good, but it’s time to focus on basketball).
The event was for card members but you can still watch what happened when a special feature recapping American Express Teamed Up airs on ESPN SportsCenter on Friday, June 10 after Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The next day it will be available on www.NBA.com/amexteammate.
See photos from last night’s event below and on the flip.
Photo: Getty Images courtesy of American Express