With Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey being retired Tuesday night at Staples Center, the current Lakers players all chimed in with their thoughts on the Big Fella. Pau Gasol was no different, stating that O’Neal was the “hardest player to go against,” according to ESPN:
Pau Gasol was one of those opponents who had to put his 7-foot, 227-pound body up against O’Neal’s 7-1, 325-pound frame on a regular basis.
“He was tough,” Gasol said. “It was a challenge. I always thought as a player when they asked me who the hardest player was to go against, it was him. His size, his strength, his power. It was too much to handle, especially when he wanted to go. You had very little [you could] do.”
Before anyone mentions it – and I’m sure someone will – I don’t think that Pau is saying that Shaq is the toughest player at any position that he has faced; instead, he’s saying Shaq’s the toughest player he’s had to personally guard.
I’m pretty sure Pau would say that Kobe is the toughest player at any position that he’s faced, so their bromance is safe for now.