Shaq admits he was selfish ‘championship chaser’ when he left Magic for Lakers
Shaq has ripped Dwight Howard for talking about leaving the Magic, saying it would be a “travesty” for the big man to leave Orlando. What Shaq forgets is that in 1996 he did the same thing, leaving the Magic to sign with the Lakers as a free agent. 16 years later, he admits he was selfish to leave Orlando to chase championships in LA.
“I admit, I was a championship chaser,” Shaq said during a sit-down with former Magic teammates Penny Hardaway and Dennis Scott that aired on TNT Friday. “One, I was a championship chaser. Two, I was an opportunity chaser. I was a little bit selfish but I had to be because I wanted to be one of the most dominant players ever.
“I never told anybody this, but when I left, and I used to watch [Orlando] play, I would say to myself ‘Did I make a mistake [by leaving]?’ Man, because I really missed you guys. We didn’t have the same camaraderie [in LA] that we did [in Orlando].”
Shaq was only in Orlando four seasons but they reached the NBA Finals once. They had a strong core and could have probably won at least a title had he stayed, but like he said, he left for LA to win even more. Shaq isn’t exactly the most humble guy, so it’s surprising to hear him admit that. Maybe it was the setting — being surrounded by Penny and D-3 that made him say it, but we appreciate him being honest. And maybe he should go easier on Dwight recognizing he’s in the same position Shaq once was.