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Shaq and Kobe.

Ranking Shaquille O'Neal's 5 best teammates of his career

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Four rings, 15 trips to the All-Star Game and one MVP award.

He did it with a little help from his friends.

If Shaquille O'Neal doesn't get his due in the all-time discussions of best players who ever lived, there are a few glaring reasons.

During his prime, Shaq didn't exactly take the regular season seriously. If he had, the Big Fella probably would have another MVP award or three.

In addition, Shaq always played with great teammates. During his career, there was always at least one other teammate who appeared poised to join him in the Hall of Fame someday.

Instead of knocking Shaq for not carrying the load himself, let's give those guys their due as we rank the best teammates of Shaq's career:

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns

5. STEVE NASH

Shaq's year-and-a-half in Arizona might go down as a minor footnote in his career, just like Steve Nash's back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006.

Nash and O'Neal actually went toe-to-toe for the award in 2005, with Nash edging out Shaq in his first year with the Miami Heat. 

The two joined forces after Shaq was traded to Phoenix in 2008 for Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion.

With the Suns, Shaq and Nash were a bit of an on-court odd couple, with completely different styles of play. The teams lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the 2008 first round and then missed the playoffs in 2009.

Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon (C) fights for con

4. PENNY HARDAWAY

It once looked impossible that Hardaway wouldn't top this list.

Hardaway joined Shaq, fresh off his Rookie of the Year award, for the 1993-94 season after being traded with picks for Chris Webber on draft night.

Shaq and Penny played three Magical seasons together in Orlando, lifting the new franchise to the NBA finals in their second year together before fizzling out in the playoffs in 1996. The duo made two All-Star teams together.

Shaq then left for Los Angeles in free agency.

NBA Finals Game 6:  Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks

3. DWYANE WADE

After Shaq's divorce with Kobe Bryant was finalized when he was traded in the summer of 2004, he did what many newly divorcees do: He headed to Florida.

In South Beach, Shaq teamed with Wade for a very productive three-and-a-half seasons.

With Wade carrying much of the load, Shaq won the 2006 NBA championship against the Dallas Mavericks and reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2005 with the Heat

It was a brief arrangement, but Flash and Superman sure did look good together.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics- Game Three

2. LeBRON JAMES

This marriage for Shaq didn't go so well.

The Diesel had entered the sad part of his career in the summer of 2009 when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded with Phoenix to get Shaq.

The Cavs were desperate to keep LeBron around as free agency loomed the next year and gave it a shot with the future Hall of Famer.

Shaq averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in the regular season but the Cavs were dispatched in six games in the second round by the Boston Celtics - who Shaq would join the next season for the final stop of his career.

LeBron hit South Beach himself, as he was not quite ready to be the dominant champion he would become, opening the top spot on this list for...

Lakers v Timberwolves

1. KOBE BRYANT

Even Kobe and Shaq would have to admit that they were each other's best teammate ever.

The proof is in the production: The duo won three titles together and went to another NBA finals together in 2004. Some of the battles with the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs will go down in history as some of the greatest games ever played.

With the Lakers, it looked like Kobe and Shaq might win 10 titles together, but they just couldn't get along. Too many egos, too much in-fighting, too few basketballs.

But for a short time, the Hall of Fame duo played some breathtaking ball.

Topics:
NBA
Shaquille O'Neal
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Kobe Bryant

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