Although Shaquille O’Neal’s tenure with the Celtics was cut short by injuries, he insists they would have reached the Finals if he had stayed healthy. Furthermore, the Hall of Famer said he would “play LeBron and D-Wade in the playoffs.”
In an interview with Heavy.com’s Sean Devaney, O’Neal opened up about his time in Boston. In particular, he expressed regret for his struggle with injuries. He insisted that if he was healthy, they would at least have a place in the finals. Plus, he wanted Danny Ainge to keep Kendrick Perkins as they were poised for a deep playoff run. Ainge was the Celtics president of basketball operations at the time.
“I always think if I hadn’t gotten hurt, we could have at least made the finals,” O’Neill said. “I always say that. I wish Danny hadn’t traded Perky that year because, I mean, we’ve been like No. 1 all year.”
Shaq “would beat LeBron and D-Wade in the playoffs”
When asked how his iteration of the Celtics would fare against the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-led Heat, he says they would feel his presence. Specifically, he would “beat LeBron and D-Wade in the playoffs.” That’s because O’Neill was an actor. He wanted to embody a powerhouse in Boston, and James and Wade would understand that.
“I was just a role player at the time, but if we got to this point, I’d be with LeBron and D-Wade in the playoffs,” O’Neal added. “I promise I would have. That would be my role. Like, as soon as they come to the hole, touch them.”
O’Neal’s last season with the Celtics was in 2010-2011. They were eliminated in the second round by the Heat, but now the specialist is out with injury. Moreover, it was O’Neal’s last season in the NBA.