The NBA debate world has been in frenzy with a hypothetical matchup between two of the most dominant teams basketball has ever seen: the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers and the 2017 Golden State Warriors. The 2001 Lakers, anchored by one of the league’s best-ever duos in Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, finished the regular season with a 56-26 record at the top of their division. Following an impressive regular season, the Lakers put together arguably the greatest postseason run in history with a 15-1 record and an NBA championship. The 2017 Warriors finished the regular season at the top of the Western Conference, with a 67-15 record, thanks to the shooting of superstar guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and the boost of superstar forward Kevin Durant. Just like the 2001 Lakers, the Warriors swept through the first rounds of the playoffs on their way to an NBA title, finishing with a 16-1 record.
Curry, fresh off his win over the Boston Celtics earlier this year, reignited the debate, saying in an interview with Complex on Monday that his Warriors would beat Shaq’s Lakers.
“If you could match up in some alternate universe, us versus the 2001 Lakers, obviously we feel like we can win,” Curry said. “I don’t know who would guard Shaq but I don’t know who would guard me and Klay either. We rockin’ with that. And three is better than two.”
Shaq took to his own podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq, to make his case for his team.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 21, 2022
“My team that went 15–1, that’s the best team ever created because we should’ve went 16–0,” O’Neal said. “I say we can win that because who’s gonna guard me and Kobe, right? Here’s my rebuttal. Once they get hot, D-Fish (Derek Fisher), send them to the hole. I’mma lay they a– out. Steph, Klay and KD. I’mma touch they a– all the way up.”
“They’re gonna have to double me,” O’Neal added. “If they don’t double me I’m going for 60 without the free throws.
In the past, Shaq has repeatedly referred to Curry as one of the league’s best players. In the wake of the recent Finals, Shaq was one of the first to call Curry one of the top 10 players of all time.