NBA / Mar 10, 2009 / 3:29 pm

Kareem On Shaq: Not Impressed

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In the modern era, the question of who’s the all-time greatest big man in the NBA often starts with Shaquille O’Neal, and then proceeds to include Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. But without ESPN Classic, it’s hard for many young NBA fans to grasp how good the “old school” centers really were.

Today, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighed in on the debate.

On NBA.com, there is an interesting interview with Abdul-Jabbar that starts with commonplace answers surrounding whether the Lakers can win it all without Andrew Bynum and why Tim Duncan (not Shaq) is the greatest big man of this generation. But it’s his thoughts on Shaq’s assessment that he and Kobe are the best big-man, little-man combo in NBA history that sets off some alarms.

NBA.com: Shaq is quoted as saying he and Kobe are the best big-man, little-man combo in NBA history. What do you think?

Kareem: He’s entitled to think what he thinks. It doesn’t really faze me what his thoughts are on that. He has his idea of what his place is in the game. I’m not going to dispute it.

While the diss isn’t extremely overt, it’s clear what Kareem is thinking. A six-time NBA champion and league MVP during his brilliant 20-year career, Abdul-Jabbar isn’t ready to hand anything over just yet.

What is Shaq’s place in the game? Are he and Kobe the best big-man, little-man combo in NBA history?

Source: NBA.com

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    Oh boy now is Shaq going to diss Kareem and go into how Kareem wishes he could be Shaq. Shaq will probably throw shots at the way Kareem looked in the Bruce Lee movie and throw a final diss at the Sky Hook or something.

    I really hope Shaq just lets this ride. You can’t just attack everyone, because then you come off (and he already has) as the idiot!

    And no him and Kobe are not the greatest big man, little man combo.

  • dueces

    don’t forget about hakeem! and yea kobe & shaq r the best big-man little-man combo ever(period)


    Yo Dime that pic is all in Kareem’s grill something awful, I feel like I need to step back from the screen lol.

  • penske1

    I’m impressed at Kareem’s response. A lot of players, and people in general, could learn a lot from this guy.

    Magic/Kareen is still the best in my eyes.


    This is from NBA.com and many of these guys are better than what Shaq and Kobe were as far as all time greatest combo
    Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    Magic and Kareem teamed up to win five NBA Championships in the ’80s (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) as the Lakers reached the NBA Finals eight times in the 10 seasons between 1979-80 and 1988-89.

    Larry Bird and Kevin McHale
    Larry Bird and Kevin McHale led the Celtics back to glory, winning three NBA Championships in the 1980s (1981, 1984 and 1986) with two more trips to the NBA Finals (1985 and 1987) during their playing days together.

    Bill Russell and Bob Cousy
    Russell and Cousy helped built the Boston Celtics dynasty of the ’50s and ’60s. As Russell held down the defensive end, Cousy ran the offense leading the league in assists for eight consecutive seasons. The two teamed up for six NBA Championships before Cousy retired; Russell would go on to win five more.

    Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
    Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and their Bulls teammates dominated the ’90s as Chicago “three-peated” two times during the decade, winners of six of the eight championships from 1991-98 against five different Western Conference teams.

    Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson
    In 1970-71, Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, and Robertson led the Bucks to a league-best 66 wins before going 12-2 in the playoffs and defeating Baltimore for the team’s only NBA Title.

    John Stockton and Karl Malone
    Stockton, the NBA’s all-time assists leader, and Malone, who ranks second all-time on the NBA’s career scoring list, spent 18 seasons honing their pick-and-roll, making the playoffs every year they played together and reaching the Western Conference Finals five times in a seven-year stretch.

    Julius Erving and Moses Malone
    The 1983 Sixers racked up a 65-17 regular-season record before going an NBA-best 12-1 in the playoffs. Malone uttered the classic “Fo’, fo’, fo’,” when asked how the Sixers would fare in the playoffs. This duo nearly delivered as the team swept New York, beat Milwaukee in five and defeated the L.A. Lakers in four straight.

    Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant
    Shaq and Kobe gave to Tinseltown what the Showtime Lakers never could: A dynasty. Behind O’Neal and Bryant, the Lakers three-peated from 2000-02 to become only the fourth team in the history of the NBA to win three or more consecutive titles.

    Tim Duncan and David Robinson
    In 1996-97, before Tim Duncan’s arrival and with David Robinson out with injury, the Spurs managed only 20 victories. In Duncan’s rookie season the club set a record for the largest single season turnaround, winning 56 games. The two would go on to win two NBA Championships (1999 and 2003).

    Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars
    Thomas and Dumars teamed in the backcourt for the “Bad Boys” of Detroit, a group of physical, gritty players who would use suffocating defense on their way to back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990.

    Now seriously …Shaq and Kobe …the greatest? Naw.


    Sorry to post the whole joint Dime. Just trying to discredit Shaq as much as possible.

  • Notorious

    Kareem & Magic >>>>> Kobe & Shaq, and it is not even close. Hell, Kobe & Shaq not even the best big/little combo in Laker history, let alone NBA history.

    Maybe they could have been had it not been for fat, lazy Shaq needing to be the big dog on the team and do the littlest amount of work. Had Shaq been half as hungry as Kobe the Lakers would have been the stuff of legends. Instead he ate his way out of LA, out of Miami and now simply has to talk ish to stay relevant.

  • Big Shot BOB

    I say Shaq and Kobe had the potential to become the best big little combo but couldn’t get along long enough to win enough titles. If they had stayed together and won as many as MJ and Kareem then maybe that would have been.

  • Brown

    MJ and Bill Cartwright


    MJ and Horace Grant


    MJ and Bill Wennington


    MJ and Luc Longley

  • Jason

    Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, their story is a work in progress.

  • http://allintheeyes.com the rocket cat

    I think Shaq vs. Kareem is an interesting debate, because Shaq was so much more physically dominant, whereas Kareem was so much more skilled.

    Magic vs. Kobe isn’t even close. Anyone who thinks Kobe is one of the all-time greats hasn’t been watching basketball long enough to know what they’re talking about. Magic, on the other hand, was arguably the greatest of all time.

    Kobe is one of the greatest scorers, but not one of the greatest players. There’s a difference.

    In Kareem and Magic, you’ve got two of the greatest players of all time. In Shaq and Kobe, you’ve only got one.

  • Blue

    @ the rocket cat…
    as much as i can’t stand kobe, you can’t keep him from his eventual place in history. he will go down as one of the greats.

    that’s not to say he’s better than magic. i’m a homer who saw showtime as a boy and i think magic is the GOAT. but even a kobe hater like myself has to see that he’s more than a great scorer. he’s a great player.

    but even though magic and kareem aren’t as physically gifted as kobe and shaq. their skill and savvy would work the pair. that’s just my opinion though.

  • hucklebuck

    Shaq and Kobe COULD have made the list if they would have played more years together, but I would put them at the bottom of the list. Magic and Kareem would be on the TOP of the list.
    *MJ and Pippen, Thomas and Dumars, Duncan and Robinson don’t count cuz they are not little man, big man.

  • Notorious

    Might as well toss out Malone and Stockton too, if you ain’t got no rings, then you can’t be one of the greatest combos ever.

    @Brown, LOL, I thought the same thing with MJ and anyone.

  • blah

    kobe is more in the mold of iverson. i think if kobe were 6’0″ or iverson were 6’6″ then their games would be reversed, if that makes any sense.

    and no they aren’t the greatest combo. each player on their own isn’t in the top 5 ever and they weren’t more than the sum of their parts.

    I just gotta say to all my 30+ heads:
    remember olajuwon embarrassing shaq’s ass right after doing the same thing to david robinson in the playoffs? That shit was embarrassing.

  • K Dizzle

    Kareem didn’t even say nuthin. He said Shaq’s entitled to his opinion…Kareem don’t have to say a word. I’ll say it for him:
    6x NBA Champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
    6x NBA MVP (1971-1972, 1974, 1976-1977, 1980)
    19x NBA All-Star (1970-1977, 1979-1989)
    2x NBA Finals MVP (1971, 1985)
    10x All-NBA First Team Selection (1971-1973, 1974, 1976-1977, 1980-1981, 1984, 1986)
    5x All-NBA Second Team Selection (1970, 1978-1979, 1983, 1985)
    5x NBA All-Defensive First Team Selection (1974-1975, 1979-1981)
    6x NBA All-Defensive Second Team Selection (1970-1971, 1976-1978, 1984)
    1970 NBA Rookie of the Year
    1970 NBA All-Rookie Team
    NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
    3x NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion (1967), (1968), (1969)
    3x NCAA Basketball Tournament MOP (1967), (1968), (1969)
    1x Naismith College Player of the Year (1969)
    2x USBWA College Player of the Year (1967-1968
    All time leading scorer in NBA history
    Invented the Skyhook

    Yeah, I’m a Laker fan so I appreciate what Shaq did and is doin, but him and Bean got a looooooooong way to go to be considered better than Cap and Magic

  • Big Island


    Olajuwon was filthy.

  • Ian

    aron who the hell thinks shaq is the best big man ever i can think of 6 i rather have to start a team with.
    poppi i rather have any of those combos (well prob not detroits and utahs) to start my team than a fat shaq with but huck did make a good point of why some of those combos shouldnt count. i want to see what shaq has to say about a player whos clearly better than him. best small big combo the big o and jabbar.

    duncan is the best big man this generation easy and lets get back in a couple of seasons to see what parker can do to be included on the list with duncan.

  • karizmatic

    Well I always kind of thought this might come up. Magic and Kareem were two of the illest. But you know Kareem is not going to give up anything after Shaq dissed him.

    I take issue with the idea that the greatest center of all time convo begins with Shaq. I think it begins with Bill Russell and Wilt, and then goes to Hakeem and the Shaq. But admittedly I just like Hakeem much more than I ever liked Shaq.

  • JJ

    Kareem had Magic, Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Drew, Woodridge etc.

    Shaq had kobe and a bunch of scrubs such as rick fox

  • Lakerfan

    One thing to say Magic was better..but, Kobe not one of the all-time greats? LOL! 100% of the NBA players, coaches, general managers, past AND present, would laugh at that comment.

  • Ian

    dont even try that it doesnt work kareem won more of everything its not even close

    so i guess that by your logic
    richmon>jordan because jordan had a better team??

  • Ian

    also when u have 2 of the 3 top players in the league (shaq and kobe) u dont need anything else but decent role players like the lakers had

  • Daniel Bui

    I hope Shaq doesn’t launch another Shaq Attaq. And yes, Shaq and Kobe are the best or second best BM/LM combo in history, and I’m not a Kobe fan. For those of you saying it’s Magic and Kareem, you guys are wrong, because Magic isn’t a little man! The man is 6’9! And he plays from PG-PF ,so he desn’t really fit with the BM/LM thing. I think the other best Big man/little man combo would have to be Hakeem and Drexler, although Drexler wasn’t really that good anymore when he played with Hakeem.

  • Ian

    i thought the same about dr j and moses hehehe but what about kareem and oscar? personally i think they are both better than kobe and shaq

  • Lakerfan

    Kobe ran the triangle offense, not Derek Fisher. He wasn’t just a scorer. He was so much more. He was THE guy on defense during the first championship season (unfortunately his defense has slipped ever since and doesn’t get up to play D every game unless it’s against a star). In the second championship run, Phil couldn’t contain himself and praised him…talked about how Kobe was doing so much more than what he had asked MJ to do and was jumping all over the bar that he had set for him.

    Kobe is just a scorer? Yeah, you know your history. and MJ was just a scorer, too, right?

  • Vinny

    @JJ-Kareem and the Big O also won a title.

  • Daniel Bui

    Yea, definitley, Kareem and Oscar is a good combo, and certainly better than Shaq and Kobe. I almost forgot about them.

  • Vinny

    How about willis reed and walt frazier?

  • Ian

    vinny whats up ? showing the knick love hehehe they are good but not better than the majority of the duos mentioned. frazier can play most of the guards mentioned the prob is that reed is prob the worst center of the ones mentioned.

  • Daniel Bui

    No, they’re good. But the best? No. Reed and Frazier aren’t top 10 in any of their positions.

  • Ian

    daniel frazier is a top ten 2 guard imo but reed i dont think so

  • Daniel Bui

    I think I’d say Duncan and Parker,Paul and West,and Williams and Boozer are the best BM/LM combos in the league today. I personally think that adding any good big man such as Bosh, Amare, Howard with CP3 will make the best big man/little man combo in the history. Just imagine Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Think of all the alley oops from Paul to Chandler, and imagine them with Howard.

  • Vinny


  • Ian

    wow daniel thats a bit out there
    cp3 is not better than most of the pgs we mentioned but my prob is with howard. dude really??? howard isnt better than reed imo and u want to match him up with hakeem wilt russell admiral jabbar shaq duncan ewing?? hes by far the worst one.

  • Daniel Bui

    No, I don’t think Frazier is the top 10 shooting gaurd. here’s my list:

  • Ian

    yeah reed woulda had a chance at the top ten if healthy hell walton is a top ten center and he played like 3 years worth of games combined.

  • Ian

    daniel that list is kinda personal but if you look up sg list frazier is a top ten player
    no way in hell u take iverson dumars over frazier hell after kobe jordan iceman and west u can make a case for frazier for the 5th spot.

  • http://www.niketalk.yuku.com/forums/8 NTstateOFmind

    i do hope shaq responds, although it makes him sound quite the fool…you gotta admit his comments are pretty hilarious

  • Kermit The Washington

    LOL @ Kareem throwin’ the peace sign over the shoulder…

  • Daniel Bui

    It’s not really about potential, is it? Sure Reed and Walton could’ve been good, but they ended up being only above average. And maybe Paul and Howard wouldmn’t be the best in history, but they’d definetly be the most fun to watch.

  • Ian

    daniel sorry its monroe thats on most list lol got the mixed up but frazier is still top ten for me at least over iverson. hes numbers (he won also) are on the monroe miller level and they are top ten

  • Daniel Bui

    I followed your advice and looked for a list and found one from ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-GreatestSGs

  • Ian

    well fun its something else ask the suns hehehe.
    walton does crack that top ten with his titles and mvp (AND THEY MOCK NASH AS UNDESERVING).

  • Daniel Bui

    Also, I would count Frazier as more of a 1 gaurd, and not a 2.

  • Ian

    daniel i was gonna ask vinny the same thing wasnt frazier more a 1 still hes a top ten there also

  • Daniel Bui

    Ian, yea he’s a top 10 1 gaurd for sure, but not 2.

  • doc

    Magic and Kareem.It should be called guard big combo instead of little big.Because u cant say no Magic because he 6 9 Kobe 6 6.He aint little either.But if they woulda stuck together maybe but they didnt so they aint.

  • doc

    The side of Kareem face look like somebody dragged his ass in the street by his feet.

  • Daniel Bui

    6’6 is not that little, but it’s still considered little. At 6’6, Jordan was the tallest person in his family, and there was like a 90 percent chance that he wouldn’t be able to make it to that height.He had to work his ass off and take jumpers after jumpers, dunks after dunks in order to will his body to grow into what was thought impossible for his family. You don’t ever see any 6’6 playing PF, but you do see people 6’9 playing it. And since PF and C are positions for big players, it makes them a big man.

  • Daniel Bui

    Except for Barkley, but he’s an exception

  • Yao Fan


    are in the conversation of “who is the greatest big man of all time”

    not Shaq.

    remember he dissed Kareem in his “Kobe, tell me how my ass taste” freestyle. Obviously, those two do not like each other.

    the lack of a response from Kareem speaks more volume than Shaq’s often ridiculous comments. Just look at the stats and number of championships… nuf said.

  • doc

    Shit it was a lot of 6 6 PFs.

  • Vinny

    Frazier was more of a 1-but he covered the 2 guards.he was a 2 who was a great and unselfish passer.imo he’s better than west,gervin, iverson,miller and drexler-mad he had 36 pts and 19 assist’s in a game 7 against west! He had a more complete game than all of them.

  • Vinny

    Frazier was a 2- but he was a great passer-and unselfish-he could have scored a lot more if he had wanted to-plus he was a great defensive player- something miller, drexler, iverson, gervin werent. monroe was more fun to watch-but he wouldnt have won a ring unless he played with frazier. Oh and walt lit west up for 36 and 19 dimes in a game 7 for a ring!!

  • Vinny

    damm my bad it went out again.

  • Ian

    vinny thats a bit to much so only jordan and kobe are better?? nah man

    gervin and west are better than him and ill say easy. drexler and miller are debatable. one game isnt all you have to compare all the resumes

  • Vinny

    Ian-gervin was just a scorer-thats it- clyde passed, played defense-that why he has 2 rings-finals 3 times.drexler and miller-seriously? West is always a hugh argument for me out here in la.

  • http://Dime Jay

    Your all crazy Shaq and Kobe are the greatest, they didnt have the cast Magic and Kareem had. Think James Worthy, one of the 50 greatest also!

  • Ian

    i said arguably drexler and miller but i dont consider gervin and west arguable i dont think youll find people at least outside ny hehehe to agree on that one.

  • Ian

    and when u say gervin is just a scorer u make him sound like hes trigger happy like iverson we are talking elite offense here. even in his last season he could score like fraziers prime seasons not to mention 4 scoring titles and getting scrubs in the playoffs frazier prob wasnt even the best player on his team. west all defense teams yeah i think thats even easier to argue that has better than walt.

  • Ian

    not only was he a way better scorer but just as good a rebounder and steals avg over a block per game and shot over 50 percent for his career

    this is like comparing ewing to rik smits

  • K Dizzle

    How about Wilt and West/Goodrich – 33 straight wins and a chip.
    @ Daniel
    6’6 power forwards – Barkley, Weatherspoon, Byron Houston, Larry Johnson, Jason Maxiell, Leon Powe, Anthony Mason, etc. They not that rare

  • dagwaller

    Shaq is outspoken, but not moreso than the other dominant players in NBA history. Do I acknowledge his place in history? Yes. Do I completely agree with his MDE self-assessment? No.

    Nor do I necessarily agree with the best “big man/little man” combo in history. Don’t know if anyone considered Rodman/Jordan, or if that even counts. Or if Magic counts as a “little man”, does that make Kareem and Magic the best? Such a great, great game that breeds great conversation, controversy, and combinations of players…

  • thomasmmm

    weren’t people questioning shaq when he was part of the NBA’s Top 50? big man-little man combo? http://tinyurl.com/az6jq3

  • Big V


    We’re talking about Big man/Little man combinations here, not any random two players that played together.

    IMO, Magic/Kareem > Shaq/Kobe.

  • Monkey Nutz

    A 7 footer who has never led the league in rbds or blks is the most dominant ever? Rather “physically dominant.” Not hardly.

  • D-Nice

    Excellent point Monkey Nutz

  • Paul

    Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain.

    The Logo and the Big Dipper

    JW — The greatest jump shooter and Mr. Clutch (if they had the three point shot back then, his career avg might be 10 pts. higher)

    WC — the most dominant big man ever , The NBA had to change the rules for him.

    End of argument

  • macdo

    Shaq and Kobe were great but it ended to short. This could have been the best – if it had stay together 3 more years.

    If success is the measuring line then Kareem and Magic. For they have more rings and a longer period of success than Shaq and Kobe.

    West and Wilt have most of the wins but i can’t give them that tag of being the best since they are 1 and 8 in championship! – Knowing that that those teams had 4 HF on the roster.

    Stockton and Malone never won the big game so they will not qualify in my book.

    JW and Wilt are great! But they only won 1 championship for the Lakers. 5 of the 15 Laker Championships came from Kareem and Magic. 5 more came from George Mikan era.

    Ask Jerry West this question. “Would he trade his image on the NBA logo to have won at 4 more rings?”

    Kareem and Magic – that group of players went to the finals 8 times and won 5 titles.