This Week In History: Shaquille O'Neal dominates New Jersey Nets in 1993
Jeff Case, NBA.com
On November 20, 1993, O’Neal had the lone 20-point, 20-rebound, 10-block game of his career. He pulled off the feat against the New Jersey Nets, finishing with 24 points, 28 rebounds and a career-best 15 blocks. It was the only double-digit blocks game in O’Neal’s career (both regular season and playoffs) as he was starting to realize the peak of his powers as an NBA superstar.
To boot, O’Neal — who was born in Newark, N.J. — had about 70 friends and family at the game to watch his exploits. His 15 blocks ended up coming three shy of the all-time single-game mark, set by Elmore Smith in 1973.
”I thought maybe I had seven or eight, but not much more,” O’Neal told the Orlando Sentinel after he logged his first career triple-double. ”I had no idea.
”Some nights I play great, some I play like I’m still in college. But I was glad I played well tonight. My family was up there, about 70 or 80 of them – uncles, cousins, aunts. I grew up in New Jersey. But I usually don’t play as well in front of my family.”
Nets star Derrick Coleman, who was held to eight points in the game and suffered an ankle injury, too, was captivated by O’Neal’s performance.
”I watched what happened out there,” Coleman said. ”Shaquille was just extraordinary.”
For O’Neal, the path to success was simple.
”I’ve been watching (Houston’s) Hakeem Olajuwon on ESPN,” said O’Neal, who scored on dunks, hooks and a 17-foot jumper. ”I just told myself to penetrate more and get my hands up like I’ve seen him (Olajuwon) do on TV.”