Shaquille O’Neal became a key player for the Miami Heat on their run to an NBA championship in 2006. Dwyane Wade recently commented about the positive impact that O’Neal had on the Heat, and almost immediately as the duo brought the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy to South Beach on a recent appearance on former Heat player Andre Igoudala’s ‘Point Forward’ podcast.
“When Shaq came, it really inserted that level of confidence in me that I could be one of the greats. I mean, I needed somebody that was a great to be able to show me what it’s like to be great. When Shaq says, you’re going to be one of the greats, I don’t need no more juice than that,” Wade said.
That 2006 Heat Championship team is again making news, with Shaquille O’Neal also talking about that season for the Heat and what it took for them to win a championship. Part of that required him to squash the beef with another Heat legend.
Shaq and Alonzo Mourning Squash the Beef
On a recent episode of Shaq’s ‘The Big Podcast,’ the Hall of Fame center revealed a surprising beef he had with another Hall of Fame center and former Heat teammate, Alonzo Mourning.
“I had beef with Alonzo Mourning,” O’Neal said. “And then when he came to the Miami Heat, I had to sit him down and apologize. I said, ‘You know what, Alonzo, I was a hypocrite. I never knew you was this great.’ Alonzo Mourning is a great dude.”
In their days, the center position was the focal point of most NBA offenses. Offense was created in the post and O’Neal and Mourning were two of the strongest and most physical players at their position. The two Hall of Famers battled throughout the entirety of their NBA career’s leading up to their eventual union in South Beach. O’Neal noted that after years of battle he wished they had buried the hatchet sooner.
“Once he got in that locker room, I was like, ‘Man, this dude is just really, really cool. We should’ve did this a couple years ago,'” O’Neal said,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal and Mourning became one of the most dominant frontcourts the league has seen in that 2005-06 championship campaign. Even though his career was nearing an end, Mourning still had a solid season averaging 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. Mourning also came up huge in the postseason that season and at times was the main big man for the Heat in their run to the title.
Dwyane Wade on Individual Awards
Wade mentioned how O’Neal and that 2006 Heat squad helped give him the confidence that he could be one of the greats, and he was right. Wade was recently named to the NBA top 75 list and he spoke about that honor as well on the recent podcast appearance.
“I didn’t know it, I didn’t know it was gonna be. We all want to do well individually, but I’ve never like played sports for the individual. I’ve always played from what I fell in love with it, with the team aspect. I’ve always been okay with like not getting an award. I remember when I was trying to get MVP one year, and I was going off for Defensive Player of the Year the same year in ’08, and I came in third in both of them,” Wade shared.
“They just proved to me again that individual awards meant nothing, and so the 75 was probably the first time since then that I really cared about something individually.”