Shaq's historical dominance

In his prime, O'Neal's supremacy over the next-best guy was tops all-time

Originally Published: June 2, 2011
By David Hess |
Shaquille O'NealTim DeFrisco /Allsport Shaquille O'Neal during his NBA debut, playing for the Orlando Magic, on Nov. 6, 1992.

NBA stat geeks tend to employ all sorts of methods and measures to argue whether a given player is good, bad or just average. But sometimes, instead of getting overly sophisticated, it's good to get back to basics.

The announcement of Shaquille O'Neal's retirement Wednesday provides us the perfect opportunity to do this. At the end of the day, basketball boils down to one fundamental skill: You need to be good at making the ball go through the hoop.

Shaq was better at that skill than nearly anyone else who has ever played. Among players who appeared in at least 500 games, Shaq's career field goal percentage of .582 ranks second all time behind Artis Gilmore (.599).