NBA Flashback: Shaq Dominates The League In His Rookie Season

In 1992, Shaquille O'Neal came out of LSU as one of the most dominant players in college basketball history and before long he'd have his way with the NBA, as well. With a rare combination of power and athleticism, O'Neal put up 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game his rookie season, with the latter two marking career highs for the future Hall of Famer.

For the Orlando Magic, an expansion franchise in 1989, winning the 1992 NBA Draft Lottery changed their fortune forever. Needing a cornerstone to build around, Shaq was more or less dropped right on the team's proverbial doorstep. Selecting O'Neal with the first overall pick would make an immediate impact on the league, and even though the Magic didn't advance to the playoffs (due to a tiebreaker situation with Indiana), they did see a 20-win increase on the season. For the first time in franchise history, the Magic finished at .500 and let the Eastern Conference know that they'd be a factor for years to come.

Expectations weren't too lofty for the 20-year old, who turned in the rookie season that most expected he would. Shaq was chosen to start the 1993 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, was named First Team All Rookie and on May 6, 1993, he was a near-unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year.

Shaquille O'Neal Rookie Highlights:


Back to top