Shaquille O'Neal is a winner. Throughout his career, he made a habit of being the best and wouldn't accept anything.
But since he left the L.A. Lakers, the franchise's fortunes have been up and down. They enjoyed success with Kobe Bryant but are now going through a barren spell that has seen them miss out on the playoffs for three consecutive seasons - the first time in their history it has happened.
Without Bryant or Shaq now, for the first time since the 1995-96 season, the famous Purple and Gold are embarking on a new period with a fresh, young roster.
They have D'Angelo Russell and Brandom Ingram as the two spearheads of the new era, but O'Neal still feels it will be some time before they are competing at the right end of the league once again.
“They’re definitely going to be exciting,” O’Neal said. "But I don’t see them being a contender for a while. I mean, they’ve still got to go up against Golden State in the West, they’ve got to go up against OKC, still got to go up against Cleveland, the Rockets. So they have a long way to go to be a contender.
“Every now and then they’ll make some noise and get the people in the Staples Center excited.”