#2 Shaquille O’Neal
Cohen’s Analysis: The other half of the Lakers dynasty and arguably the most menacing and daunting player in NBA history, Shaq reformed the term dominance for a portion of this decade.
During L.A.’s three straight titles, in which he was named Finals MVP each of those seasons, and four NBA Finals appearances in five years, O’Neal stomped all over the competition. Shaq was also the league’s MVP in 2000 and an NBA All-Star every year except in 2008.
Since O’Neal’s status faded after capturing his fourth title (with the Heat) as a result of injuries and endurance, it wouldn’t be appropriate to rank him ahead of his former teammate, Kobe, who started and ended the decade on top.