Iconic NBA players are remembered for being larger than life players and personalities, but some were iconic for being, quite literally, larger than life. NBA players are already some of the biggest, fastest, and strongest people on the planet, but even within the league, there are those who are at the top in terms of elite physicality.
What is the 10th most iconic jersey of all time? Shaquille O’Neal’s 1994-1995 Orlando Magic alternate jersey is the 10th most iconic jersey of all time, according to SLAM Magazine’s “Top 75 Greatest Basketball Jerseys of All Time” list. The jersey has a black base with white vertical pinstripes, and has white “Orlando” lettering and blue numbers. Mitchell and Ness, who make jersey reproductions, list this jersey as their 10th best-selling jersey of all time.
Why is Shaquille O’Neal iconic?
Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the #1 overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Coming out of LSU, Shaq was NBA-ready, dominating the league since day one. After 4 years with the Orlando Magic, his relationship with the team was starting to fracture, so he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. After another successful 8 years with the Lakers, Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat after becoming frustrated with Lakers management. After another great 4 years with the Heat, Shaq played one season each with the Phoenix Suns, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and finally the Boston Celtics, with whom he retired in 2011.
After a total of 19 seasons in the NBA, Shaq has stacked up quite the resume. He was a 4x NBA champion (3x with the Lakers, 1x with the Heat), 3x Finals MVP, and the league MVP in 2000. He was voted to 15 All-Star Games (of which he won 3 All-Star Game MVPs), 8 All-NBA First Teams (and 6 other All-NBA teams), as well as 3 All-Defensive NBA Second Teams. Furthermore, Shaq won the Rookie of the Year award and was voted to the All-Rookie NBA First Team, and was a 2x scoring champion. Despite having one of the greatest careers ever, that got him inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2016, legendary coach Phil Jackson, among others, believed that Shaq could have been even greater than he was.
Shaq was one of the most dominant players to ever step foot on the court. Over 7 feet tall, and reportedly close to 400 pounds at his heaviest, Shaq was nearly unstoppable inside the paint. His athletic ability allowed him to score at will, having the 3rd-highest field goal percentage in NBA history. His powerful dunks could shatter rims and break backboards, and he was also quick for his size. He averaged 23.7 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game, and 2.3 blocks per game, cementing his status as one of the great bigs in NBA history.
Shaq was more than just iconic on the court. The world fell in love with his goofy personality, his multiple nicknames, and his almost-comical large stature. His name would frequently be in the media for his drama with teammates and coaches, although he had a great relationship with reporters. Shaq has appeared in movies (who can forget Kazaam), television shows, commercials, video games, and just about anything you can think of. He is currently a popular TV basketball analyst on Inside the NBA on TNT, and has remained in the spotlight well after his retirement. Shaq is potentially the most iconic basketball player of all time, rivaling Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James in this regard.
Why is the 1994-1995 Shaquille O’Neal Orlando Magic alternate jersey iconic?
The 1994-1995 seasons was Shaq’s third in the league, continuing his dominant form. He averaged 29.3 points per game while shooting at a 58.3% rate, giving him the scoring title for that season. He also pulled down 11.4 rebounds and had 2.4 blocks per game. He just missed out on the MVP for that season, finishing 2nd in voting after David Robinson. He was voted to the NBA All-Star Game that season and was also voted to the All-NBA Second Team.
As the Magic were playoff contenders that season, Shaq continued to play at an elite level in the playoffs. Neither the Pacers, the Bulls, or the Celtics had any answers for him, as the Magic made it to the NBA Finals. There, Shaq met his match in the Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon. Although Shaq put up 28 points, 12.5, and 6.3 assists per game, the Magic were swept by the Rockets. However, Shaq showed on the big stage that he could take a team to the Finals and be a legitimate contender.
Why is the 1994-1995 Orlando Magic alternate jersey iconic?
The 1994-1995 Orlando Magic jersey has a black base, with white vertical pinstripes on both sides of the jersey. The “Orlando” lettering is white with thin blue outlines, and the “a” in “Orlando” is replaced by a silver star. The numbers are also blue with white outlines. The collar and armpit trim are white, blue, and black.
The Orlando Magic were still a young franchise in the 1994-1995 season, as it was their sixth season in the league. However, they were spearheaded by the burgeoning duo of Shaq and guard Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, while also making a key signing of forward Horace Grant in the offseason. The Magic positioned themselves to be a contender that season, and they topped the Eastern Conference with a 57-25 record. The Magic continued to dominate the Eastern Conference in the playoffs, consecutively knocking out the Indiana Pacers (who swept them the previous year), the Chicago Bulls (with a newly unretired Michael Jordan), and the Boston Celtics, winning the Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic were unfortunately outmatched by the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals, who swept them.
Shaquille O’Neal was certainly an outstanding basketball player, but his personality made him an iconic cultural figure around the world. Anything with his name on it has a potential to be remembered for years to come, and that’s just the case with his iconic 1994-1995 Orlando Magic alternate jersey.