Jermaine O’Neal was a power forward in the NBA for 14 years and played for three teams. He won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat and was selected to four All-Star games. What is your opinion of his career?
Jermaine O’Neal was a talented basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, and Indiana Pacers. He is currently the head coach of the South Bay Lakers in Los Angeles.
The Indiana Pacers had some excellent teams in the early 2000s, but their success was overshadowed by the notorious Malice at the Palace fight between them and the Detroit Pistons (as well as Pistons supporters). Many people seem to have forgotten how talented some of those players were as a result of that terrible night, so we looked back at former Pacers great Jermaine O’Neal’s NBA career to see how successful he was.
The Trail Blazers were where Jermaine O’Neal began his NBA career.
With the No. 17 overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft, O’Neal joined the league right out of high school with the Portland Trail Blazers.
During those four seasons with the Blazers, he averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 11.5 minutes a game. However, in August 2000, Portland moved O’Neal to the Indiana Pacers, who had recently fallen in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers the previous season. At his debut season in Indiana, the 6-foot-11-inch center increased his averages to 12.9 points and 9.8 rebounds.
However, during his second season, in 2001-02, O’Neal exploded into the scene.
On the Pacers, Jermaine O’Neal was a six-time NBA All-Star.
On February 22, 2004, Jermaine O’Neal of the Indiana Pacers looks up during a game against the Utah Jazz. | Getty Images/Andy Lyons
Starting in the 2001-02 season, O’Neal went on a tear that propelled him to the top of the NBA’s large men rankings.
By averaging 19.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, he won his first of six consecutive All-Star selections that season. His performance earned him one of his three consecutive All-NBA honors, as well as the Most Improved Player title.
The following two seasons, O’Neal averaged slightly over 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and he helped the Pacers reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2003-04. However, O’Neal’s greatest scoring season was in 2004-05, when he averaged 24.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.
After that, the big man proceeded to put up good statistics in each of the following two seasons, which were his last two All-Star appearances. During those years, he averaged approximately 20.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks each game.
However, his output started to decline in 2007-08. Between 2007-08 and 2013-14, O’Neal was a member of the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and Golden State Warriors. In those seasons, he averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, and the 2013-14 season was his last in the league. O’Neal averaged 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game throughout his career.
To answer the issue of how excellent O’Neal was when he was at his greatest, he was one of the finest big players in the NBA for many years, but his peak was brief, lasting just six seasons.
His career was tainted by the Palace’s malice.
The Pacers could have won a championship with O’Neal, Ron Artest (also known as Metta World Peace and Metta Sandiford-Artest), Stephen Jackson, and Reggie Miller if the Malice at the Palace had never occurred during the 2004-05 season. O’Neal would have had a storied career if it hadn’t been marred by the incident that landed him a 15-game suspension.
“I’ve never really attempted to use the term regret, but it’s always troubled me,” O’Neal stated in Untold: A Memoir. According to the IndyStar, there is malice at the Palace. “…I didn’t want to speak to anyone.” All I wanted to do was go on with my life. However, I’ve never been able to get away from it.”
Jermaine O’Neal was a great player throughout his NBA career, but that one night cemented his place as one of the league’s most underappreciated players. It eclipsed all of his other achievements.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: The Return to Detroit for the Indiana Pacers After Malice at the Palace Could Have Been Scarier Than the Fight
Jermaine O’Neal is a retired basketball player who played in the NBA for 17 years. He was drafted out of high school and made his debut with the Portland Trail Blazers at age 18. Reference: jermaine o’neal business.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Jermaine ONeal is a professional basketball player.
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