MacGill wrote:So they started letting Shaq get away with things that were always offensive fouls. He was given a get of of jail card to physically overpower his defender. This started the first wave of floppers who had nothing left to combat this style. Stand your ground and get run over for a dunk or flop and pray for a call.
So no disrespect Shotclock, but this is simply wrong but something I hear about Shaq all too often. So let's start with the misception of the refs letting Shaq get away with anything. There was no one like him, who played the power game like him and coming in as an agile 300 pound rookie who could run the fast break like a pg, the league was unsure of how to call him.
A call is a call. You foul a guy it doesn't matter how big you are it's a foul. Shaq had all the moves. Shoulder into your chest to move you out of the way, elbows to the head while looking like he's just lifting the ball up, the elbow hook sweep to get around his man, the clearout with his left on his one handed jumpers, the steam roll right through you move. I'm sure I missed some, but the whole thing with him getting away with offensive fouls was quite well discussed back in the 90's.
There is no way I will state that he didn't get away with calls, he did, but not because the refs needed to let him go to build up his brand. First year Shaq was already being compared iconically to MJ and the video is on youtube. He was an instant star and did not need the refs help for that. He was just that powerful and it was hard for the league to tell what was Shaq and what was the players flopping.
This was pre-flopping, I'm talking about games before Vlade and the likes resorted to flopping. If they called Shaq for all his offensive fouls he'd have been in trouble a lot and the league doesn't like stars on the bench. They want them scoring points.
How can we penalize Shaq if that is how strong he is versus is he intentionally causing unwanted contact. Now go back to his rookie measurments, played power back to the basket game like no one before him and tell me.
Strength has nothing to do with fouling. Just because you are strong doesn't mean you don't have a normal gear. You know Shaq can safely handle a baby if he had to right?
The flip side to this is how hard other players were allowed to abuse Shaq. Have you ever seen the licks this man took? It wasn't all one sided here but questionable calls which all stars get regardless of what they were doing is part of the game and shouldn't be used to take away from the skill he had at scoring in the post.
A lot of that came later. It was trial and error with trying to shut him down. The refs let him move you out of position illegally so they started improvising.
Take a look at this game. It's the first one I found with Shaq as a the focus from his Orlando days but I'm sure I could find better if I took the time.
6:10 - Doesn't matter how big you are this is a blatant foul and something you saw often from him.
1:03 Shoulder, elbow clear out
Those are just a couple.