Throughout the course of his illustrious career, there was virtually nothing Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal didn’t accomplish.
A league MVP, Rookie of the Year, two-time scoring champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time world champion and 15-time NBA All-Star, O’Neal retired after the 2010-11 season as one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. On this day 25 years ago however, O’Neal did something he accomplished just once in his NBA career.
He hit a three-point shot.
The Orlando Magic were 35-14 as they arrived at Orlando Arena on Feb. 16, 1996 to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Orlando controlled the contest from the start in a 121-91 victory, but at the end of the first quarter, fans got to witness something they never would again.
With Orlando leading 37-25 and just two seconds remaining in the opening quarter, O’Neal was able to gather a long pass from Magic forward Joe Wolf about five feet beyond the three-point arc. After using the dribble to control the pass, O’Neal hoisted it toward the goal with one hand. The ball banked off the glass and through the net as the buzzer sounded.
O’Neal’s banked trey was a sign of how the night went for Orlando. The Magic shot better than 60% from the field and 7-for-13 from deep. Three different Magic players tallied double-doubles.
O’Neal finished with a game-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds. Guard Anfernee Hardaway tallied 24 points and 10 assists. Forward Horace Grant added 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
It wasn’t a bad shooting night for Milwaukee, who shot 46% from the field, but just 6-for-20 from deep. The Bucks also turned the ball over 23 times in the loss. Benoit Benjamin and Marty Conlon each finished with a team-high 13 points in the loss.
Throughout the course of his 19-year NBA career, O’Neal attempted 22 three-pointers. He made just one. It came as a member of the Orlando Magic and on this day a quarter-century ago.