On Wednesday, Shaq did his retired NBA player thing when he was asked how his 2000-2002 title-winning Lakers would fare against this era's dominant Warriors squad. "I think we'd easily win," O'Neal told USA Today, surprising absolutely no one. Less than two years ago, he told Complex just about the same thing. Even less surprising was Steph Curry's response when informed of O'Neal's completely unprovable prognostication.
Shaq acknowledged the arbitrariness of the whole thing, but pointed out that the Lakers were one blazing Allen Iverson Game 1 in the 2001 Finals away from going undefeated in the postseason that year. "Other people might feel different, they [the Warriors] might feel different. But we had one of the best teams of all time in 2001 when we went 15-1 in the playoffs. We would've gone 16-0, but A.I. [Allen Iverson] went off on us and stepped over Ty Lue."
However, the Warriors were one blazing Cavs shooting performance away from going undefeated on their way to the 2017 title. Curry, like Shaq, knows this whole back-and-forth is designed for NBA Twitter, and that comparing eras, even recent ones, are impossible to really answer, which is fun for some.
"For me, I think it's a tough conversation because I've always found it hard to compare eras to each other," Curry said.
"And we're still in the middle of it, so -- I laugh sometimes," he added. "I saw Shaq today talked about his 3-peat championship team would have destroyed us for whatever reason. All those conversations are just entertaining because one, who knows. Two, the game is so different. Teams that dominated their respective eras need to be left alone in terms of what that means. Hopefully that's how they'll approach us when they talk about us 20, 30 years from now looking back."
In 20 or 30 years, we'll all be too busy trying to survive to worry about how Curry's Warriors would have fared against the roving band of marauders, who call themselves Zionation, and dominate the decimated landscape when they suit up to battle a fire-breathing Stephen A. Smith hologram in something akin to the Thunderdome.