For some of us, time changes memories, softens them. Things you think you knew you maybe didn’t. Memories change over time.
And when it comes to Christian Laettner and Shaquille O’Neal, some of us never saw them play in college. For you, they are mythical figures. Laettner is tied into the two national championships and the brilliant game he had against Kentucky in 1992, including the iconic game-winner.
Both guys were extraordinary players and they had two head-to-head meetings in college.
And Laettner’s Devils won both.
There was an article in Sports Illustrated that came out when O’Neal and Stanley Roberts, both supremely talented big men, were at LSU and Shaq realized that he couldn’t guard Roberts jumper.
This came back to haunt him against Laettner, who was always a good shooter. Laettner simply went outside in both games and gave Shaq fits.
As we said, people forget how good O’Neal was at LSU. He was not the slower, massive guy he became in the NBA, when he was overweight for most of his career. In college, he was supremely fit, and unbelievably powerful.
Look for the dunk here where Grant Hill falls down. Could there be anything more intimidating than someone as big as O’Neal dunking, landing over Hill and then leaning down and screaming in your face? Anyone who has ever seen O’Neal in person realizes that he is simply massive. That must have been a very intense experience.
Yet Laettner’s teams prevailed in both games and O’Neal didn’t take it very well. He also didn’t take it well that Laettner made the Olympic team when he didn’t.