Shaquille O’Neal: “The same thing that was going on in this documentary was going on with me. It was told to me that if we don’t win the series [2004 NBA Finals vs. Detroit Pistons] I’m out of there.”
Chris Broussard: “It was told to you before the series started??”
Shaq: “Yes, from somebody upstairs in the office, ‘Hey, if you don’t win this series, they’re looking to make changes'… I knew once we lost that it was time for me to do something else.” (Full Audio Above)
Listen to Shaquille O’Neal discuss ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ documentary with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker, in particular the part of the first episode where it was made clear that Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was going to break the entire team up after the 1997-1998 season.
Shaq says a similar instance happened to him at the end of his Lakers tenure, as Shaq told Broussard and Parker that management had warned him prior to the 2004 NBA Finals that if the team failed to beat the Eastern Conference Champion Detroit Pistons in the Finals -- a team with players the likes of Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Wallace, that O’Neal would be OUT of Los Angeles.
The Lakers would later lose the series in five games and O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat that summer for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and a first round pick.
Check out the segment above and the FULL interview below.