The legendary NBA big men Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming recently went to China together. The reunion once again reminded fans that no matter how big the American center is, he is not much of a giant compared to the Chinese tower.
The two were together when the famous Los Angeles Lakers caught the women’s basketball preliminary round match between China and Indonesia in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. They exchanged pleasantries and took time to catch up on things.
Shaquille O’Neal wrote about Yao Ming’s partnership with X:
“Always good to see my brother @YaoMing.”
Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming had a rivalry in the Western Conference when they played for the Lakers and the Houston Rockets, respectively, in the 2000s.
Seven-foot-one O’Neal once admitted that the 7-foot-6 Yao was one of the few players who gave him problems with his unique combination of size and speed.
They fought 18 times in their career, 13 in the regular season and five in the playoffs. Shaq won 10 games while Yao won eight. The Rockets’ big man, however, took their regular season head-to-head matchup 7-6.
During their matches, Shaquille O’Neal averaged 21.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 2.4 assists. Yao, on the other hand, was good for 17.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, two assists, and 1.5 blocks.
While they were competitors on the court, the two giants developed a special friendship that continues to this day. It started when Shaquille O’Neal’s stepfather told him how Yao looked up to him and that he should show more respect to his opponent.
He told SB Country in a 2016 interview:
“He (Step Dad) showed me the letters that Yao used to write to me when he was a child in China. Christmas cards, birthday cards. My father said, ‘The man is watching you.’ Most of the men I killed, I looked at them. But he said that Yao looked at me, so show him some respect. Our relationship changed after that.”
As fate would have it, both Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming ended their NBA careers at the same time in 2011 and five years later, part of the 2016 batch inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts.
Fans reaction to the latest reunion of Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming
The latest reunion between NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, attracted the interest of fans, who shared their thoughts. Below are some of their reactions: