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The Shaq Derby: Lakers Get Their Man

Shaquille O'Neal: Talk of the Town

July 19, 1996|GEORGE DOHRMANN

Shaquille O'Neal's NBA career with appropriate quotes from each season.

* 1992-93--Drafted by the Orlando Magic with first pick in draft and signed to a reported $40 million over seven years. Named rookie of the year after averaging 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds. Magic (41-41) won 20 more games then previous season but did not reach playoffs.

* Quote after being drafted on Nov. 6, 1992: "I just want to contribute right now, help this team be a winner. But someday, I'm going to be 'The Man.' You can write that down, and underline it three times."

* 1993-94--Second in NBA with 29.3 scoring average to go with 13.2 rebounds per game (second in league) while leading Orlando (50-32) into playoffs for first time in team history. Magic were swept by Indiana Pacers in the first round. An All-NBA third-team selection.

Quote from after the Magic was eliminated by the Pacers on May 3, 1994: "All we can do, all I can do now, is try to learn from this. It took Michael Jordan seven years to win his first NBA title. I hope it doesn't take me that long."

* 1994-95--Led league with a 29.3 scoring average to go with 11.4 rebounds. The Magic (57-25) advanced to the NBA finals, where the team was swept in four games by the Houston Rockets. Runner-up to David Robinson for league MVP.

* Quote after Magic was swept by the Rockets on June 15, 1995: "We will remember this feeling. We have to if we ever want to win it all."

* 1995-96--Sat out 28 games during season because of thumb injury, but helped Orlando win the Atlantic Division with a 60-22 record. Averaged 26.6 points and 11 rebounds (third in league). Magic advanced to Eastern Conference finals before being swept by Chicago.

* Quote on his future after the Magic was eliminated by the Bulls on May 28, 1996: "Of course Orlando is the first option, but right now I'm not even thinking about it. I'm going to take a week off and think about it. I'm going to make a decision real quick."

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By the numbers

Regular Season

*--*

Year Team G FG FT Reb. Pts. 1992-93 Orl. 81 .562 .592 13.9 23.4 1993-94 Orl. 81 .599 .554 13.2 29.3 1994-95 Orl. 79 .583 .533 11.4 29.3 1995-96 Orl. 54 .573 .487 11.0 26.6 Totals 295 .581 .546 12.5 27.2

*--*

*

Playoffs

*--*

Year Team G FG FT Reb. Pts. 1993-94 Orl. 3 511 471 13.3 20.7 1994-95 Orl. 21 577 571 11.9 25.7 1995-96 Orl. 12 606 393 10.0 25.8 Totals 36 .583 .511 11.4 25.3

*--*

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