NASH, Tell Me How My Ass Tastes
1999-2000. That was the first and only time that Shaquille O’Neal received the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, the NBA regular season MVP award, with an average of 29.7 points per game and 13.6 rebounds and a league best 67-15 record with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Self labeled the M.D.E (Most Dominant Ever), one has to wonder how it was that the Big Fella managed to receive only one trophy.
Five years later, the lil white guy from Canada with the shaggy hair put together his first of two MVP seasons.
In 2004-05, the Phoenix Suns paced the NBA with a league best 62 victories and followed that up with a 54 victory season the next year, good enough for the second overall seed in the West (though the Dallas Mavericks finished with a better overall record).
Leading the way was Steve Nash with 15.5 points and 11.5 assists in 04-05 and 18.8 points, 10.5 assists the next season.
One season after walking away from the game on his wonky ankle, with a Hall Of Fame resume, Shaq is still questioning how his former teammate managed to receive two MVP awards, while he was awarded only once.
Since his days at LSU, I have been a Shaq fan. His ability to do so many incredible things for a man his size, with or without the basketball always amazed me.
That same amazement, but in a different way has been there for Nash ever since taking to the court with him back in 1990 when he played at Arbutus High School.
The ability for both players to control and impact the game, in their own respective ways, as a seven foot, 300 pound beast and as a six foot ball handling wizard.
The question about MVP is always a water cooler favorite
Is it the individual who put up the best numbers on the best team or is it for one who makes his teammates better?
Recently, VIBE magazine sat down with O’Neal and brought up a variety of topics, one being the fact that throughout his legendary career, that he was named the league MVP only once.
VIBE: Some sportswriters think you underachieved because you only won one MVP.
SHAQ: Steve Nash is my boy, but I don’t see how the fuck he got it twice. I was taught never to complain because you can’t beat the system. People know who the real dominant guy was.
But Steve Nash, I don’t want to say it
In 2004-05, Nash took a 29 win team from the season before, and with a majority of the same key players as the year prior (minus Stephon Marbury), turned that squad into a 62 win team and the best regular season record in the NBA. Nash’s presence in the Mike D’Antoni system, increased the value and talents of Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and Shawn Marion.
Shaq on the other helped the Heat to a 59-23 record, good enough for second overall, with what some feel was a lesser lineup than the Suns trotted out each night.
However it was hard for O’Neal to argue that Nash was not deserving of the accolade. Nash’s second MVP came as a bigger surprise to many around the league.
Though his individual stats were up, the Suns record dropped to 54 victories and many questioned if it were race related, and if the league wanted a feel good story.
*Side note: P.J. Brown managed to get a fifth place vote by a New Orleans beat writer.
My question to Mr. O’Neal….why the hate on Nash’s back to back MVP’s, when just a few years earlier and one year following your award, Tim Duncan captured back to backs?
Both seasons O’Neal had better personal stats than Duncan, though like with Nash, the Spurs had a better team record in the second year.
Why isn’t Shaq arguing and pointing fingers at Karl Malone, who, although the Lakers had six less victories than the Jazz, had a better statistical line in the 50 game season?
Ok, fair enough, at some point in his 18 year career, O’Neal should have received the trophy at least once, if not twice more, if only he could have been healthy enough to stay on the court.
There were a number of seasons in which O’Neal was the most dominant player on the court, but that didn’t always equate to making his team better.
However, why six years later does Shaq have to continue the hate and why of all people did Shaq choose to throw Steve Nash under the bus, one that probably doesn’t have a lot of room, with Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley and Dwight Howard already there.