Shaquille O’Neal is officially safe from having to fulfill a very weird promise he made on ESPN 15 years ago. For that, he can thank Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Of course, Kerr was probably doing himself a favor by rejecting the younger Shaq’s proposal.
Steve Kerr shows mercy toward Shaq
Rewind back to 2004. Behind O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers have made the NBA Finals yet again. Phil Jackson has presided over three different three-peats with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, and his team has now made the Finals four times in the last five years.
Jackson is the premier coach of the NBA, and that led O’Neal to make an interesting promise if a coach ever matches what Jackson has done over the last five years.
“If a coach takes a team to the Finals four out of five years, I’ll kiss his feet on Fear Factor. With cheese on it. I would. It will never be done again,” O’Neal said.
Well, Kerr’s Warriors have now made the NBA Finals for the last five years straight. Not surprisingly, Kerr seemed very uninterested in pushing O’Neal on the offer.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) July 16, 2019
For some reason, O’Neal then responded to Kerr and ... seemed pretty ready to go through with the bet.
@SteveKerr I guess I’ll c u in fear factor, and make sure it’s kraft cheese lol
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) July 16, 2019
Sure, why not.
Funnily enough, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also once qualified with four straight Finals trips during the team’s LeBron James era, but the offer didn’t come up then.
Speaking of Spoelstra, the younger Shaq’s choice of, ahem, feat really should be questioned. Four NBA Finals trips in five years for a single coach. That happens all the time in the NBA!
Every full decade in NBA history outside of the 1970s has seen a coach match that accomplishment. John Kundla (Lakers) in the 50s, Red Auerbach (Celtics) and Fred Schaus (Lakers) in the 60s, Pat Riley (Lakers) and K.C. Jones (Celtics) in the 80s, Jackson (Bulls/Lakers) in the 90s, Jackson (Lakers) again in the 00s and then Spoelstra and Kerr this decade.
Not to second-guess a 15-year-old foot-kissing bet, but three different three-peats with two different teams might have been better as an unattainable goal for O’Neal to choose. But that wouldn’t have been as Laker-friendly.
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