Shaquille O’Neal, the career center for the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat as well as a seven-time NBA champion, was on hand to watch his former team face off against Dwyane Wade’s new squad. In Game 2 of the Finals in 2006, Shaq had been called upon with just under two minutes left after Wade went down from an injury he sustained near half court during a timeout. With eleven seconds remaining before halftime and still trailing by six points, O’Neal set up shop at midcourt and proceeded to go coast-to-coast twice within 30 seconds – not only going untouched but also being fouled each time – resulting in three free throws that put Miami ahead 68-67. The Heat eventually won 113‑107.,
The “when did shaq retire” is a question that has been asked for years. Shaquille O’Neal gave Dwyane Wade some advice during Game 5 of the NBA Finals that lead to one of the greatest stretches in NBA Finals history.
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the NBA’s most dominating players. However, with the Miami Heat behind the Dallas Mavericks 2-0 in the 2006 NBA Finals, he saw the necessity for a growing Dwyane Wade to take command.
In the summer of 2004, the Heat welcomed O’Neal to South Beach to complete the championship jigsaw. Shaq, on the other hand, recognized his decline at a critical moment and provided Flash with motivation, resulting in one of the most spectacular Finals campaigns in history.
As the Heat lost the first two games of the 2006 NBA Finals, Shaquille O’Neal struggled to make an impression.
During the first several games of the 2006 NBA Finals, the Heat presumably planned to establish Shaquille O’Neal in the paint. The Mavericks, on the other hand, had different ideas.
Dallas made it a point to irritate Shaq and make him work for his money. In Game 1, O’Neal scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but he only made one of nine free throws. In Game 2, the Mavericks upped the ante, restricting The Diesel to just five points on 2-of-5 shooting. He struggled from the charity stripe yet again, shooting 1-for-7 from the line.
The Mavericks’ resolve to keep Shaq out of the game paid off handsomely. Through the first two games, Miami has scored a total of 85 points, with Dallas outscoring the Heat by 24 points.
O’Neal saw that Miami’s game strategy needed to be tweaked. He decided to counsel D-Wade and urge him to investigate his own wrongdoing.
Dwyane Wade must take charge of the series, according to O’Neal.
On April 24, 2007, former Miami Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal watch a game against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls triumphed 107-89 | Getty Images/Jay Drowns/Sporting News
The Mavs planned to isolate Shaq and push his teammates to produce for themselves, Shaq realized. He also knew that the Heat couldn’t depend on their veterans to get them through this season. Dwyane Wade was put in charge.
In 2020 (h/t Heat.com), O’Neal revealed he had a chat with Wade in which he advised Flash to be aggressive and continuously chase offense. Superman even said that he could only play a supporting role.
“So I was like, ‘Hey, guy, I’m being quadrupled and triple-teamed,’” she says. So, what are your plans? ‘What are you going to do, y’all?’ ‘Don’t be polite,’ I eventually told D-Wade. Don’t try to be pleasant. At this point, I’m going to take on the role of a character. ‘Go for it.’”
–Shaquille O’Neal (2020), as reported by Heat.com
Shaq’s willingness to eat humble pie signified a significant break from his previous persona as The Diesel.
While the Los Angeles Lakers’ version of O’Neal still wanted to be the club’s offensive fulcrum, he realized he couldn’t carry a team. Wade’s ability to reach his superstar potential was crucial in this series.
Flash did just that, launching one of the greatest four-game runs in NBA history.
Wade led the Heat to their first NBA championship.
Dwayne Wade felt confident enough to take leadership after hearing Shaquille O’Neal’s guidance.
Wade was instrumental in the Heat’s amazing comeback. It all started in Game 3, when he scored 42 points and added 15 in the fourth quarter to help Miami even the series. From then, Flash’s popularity grew.
Miami blasted up the Mavs in Game 4 with the greatest player in Heat history scoring 36 points. In a crucial Game 5, he went 11-of-28 from the field, but he tirelessly attacked the rim and tallied up 21 free throws. The Heat took a 3-2 series lead thanks to their hyper-aggressive approach, which resulted in a 43-point performance.
Wade continued to go on the attack in Game 6. He finished with 36 points on 16-of-21 shooting from the free throw line, as well as 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks. His incredible effort is still remembered as one of the finest series-clinching performances in NBA history.
Wade’s reputation as one of the finest players in basketball was cemented during this four-game span, which may be considered his ascension into the game’s top. Shaq’s humility also taught him something.
After the “Big 3” Heat fell to the Mavs in the 2011 NBA Finals, Wade had a similar message for LeBron James, asking him to establish himself as the No. 1 option. Miami went on to win back-to-back championships.
Wade was deeply affected by O’Neal’s message for Flash, both in the moment and for years to come.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
During the 2004 NBA Finals, Shaquille O’Neal’s generational strength resulted in Ben Wallace busting out of his shoe.
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