We at Highly Controversial Sports want to wish a Happy 46th Birthday to Shaquille "Shaq"/"Superman"/"The Big Aristotle"/"The Diesel"/"The Big Shaqtus" O'Neal.
Shaq is, in my mind, without a doubt the most dominant athlete to ever walk this earth. Hear me out on my explanation of how and why. When I say the most dominant athlete, I don't mean the greatest, or the most successful, I mean pure, physical dominance.
For football it would be someone who was simply unblockable (LT) or someone who was untouchable (Barry Sanders), for baseball it would be a hitter who you couldn't pitch to (Barry Bonds), or a pitcher who you can't touch (Randy Johnson), but arguments could be made for many players in these sports, and in every sport.
The argument not only spans each individual sport, but who, in general and across the board, dominated their field in a way that may never be replicated.
For me, what Shaq did on the basketball court, was unprecedented, and unstoppable, and will never be done again. With a career spanning 18 season, Shaq was a 4x NBA Champion, 15x All-Star, 2x Scoring Champ, the 1999-2000 MVP, and should've won at least another MVP or two, but as we know the NBA MVP voting system is a complete joke.
When Shaq was at his peak, there was nothing anyone could do to stop him. Simply nothing. From the 1993-1994 season up until the 2002-2003 season, he averaged at least 26.2 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.7 BPG. Nearly a decade of putting up numbers that were at the top of the league, from 21 years old up until he was 30 years old, he was scoring better than guards and forwards, all while out rebounding the league's best big men, and doing it with reckless abandonment and no regard for all human life.
With three seasons where he averaged 29+ PPG, Shaq showed just how easy it was for him to get a bucket, and he did all that, while shooting an abysmal .527 from the FT line, where teams often sent him just to stop the bleeding of him scoring at will.
On this date in 2000, Shaq awarded himself the best birthday present he could, a 62 point, 23 rebound game against the Clippers, shooting 59% from the field on only 35 shots.
His dominance knew no bounds, he feared no opponent, and he posterized everyone in his path. Shaq scored at will, out-rebounded everyone who shared the court with him, and did it all with a smile. He bullied grown men, night in and night out, and made his name a household one.