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Shaquille O’Neal: ‘Tuesday night we ain’t losing money’

10.26.10 at 1:10 pm ET

Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal had stated following his team’s preseason win over the Knicks in Hartford, Oct. 16, that he had been in bigger openers than this season’s meeting against the Miami Heat. O’Neal stated at the time, “In the last 20 years I’ve had bigger openers. It’s big to you guys, but you guys like the hype. Everybody wants to talk about the young team, but the last 10 years I think I’ve been there I think four times and I haven’t seen a young time do it yet … Especially with all the social media ‘€¦ I’ve been in much bigger games.”

But after looking at his 18 season-openers in the NBA — which have translated to a 13-5 record for his teams — O’Neal admitted that Tuesday night’s showdown did distinguish itself.

“Maybe ’02 was a big one,” he said, referencing his Lakers’ 87-82 loss to the Spurs. “I guess this probably does rank up there as one of the biggest openers.”

Just moments before looking at the list of his openers, which started with his Magic beating the Heat, 110-92, in 1992, O’Neal commented on how well the media was publicizing the Celtics’ meeting with the Heat.

“All the talk of [the NBA] losing money. Not on Tuesday night we ain’€™t losing money,” he said.

Here is a complete list of O’Neal’s openers (with his team in bold):

1992: Orlando 110, Miami 100

’93: Orlando 116, Miami 96

’94: Bullets 110, Orlando 108

’95: Orlando 99, Cleveland 88

’96: Lakers 96, Phoenix 82

’97: Lakers 104, Jazz 97

’98: Lakers 99, Rockets 91

’99: Lakers 91, Utah 84

’00: Lakers 96, Portland 86

’01: Lakers 98, Portland 87

’02: Spurs 87, Lakers 82

’03: Lakers 109, Mavs 93

’04: Miami 100, Nets 77

’05: Miami 97, Memphis 78

’06: Bulls 108, Miami 66

’07: Pistons 91, Miami 80

’08: Phoenix 103, Spurs 98

’09: Celtics 95, Cavs 89

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