Make People Feel Understood

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest basketball centers of all time, having led teams to four NBA championships, among other achievements. In seven seasons before 1999, though, he hadn’t won a championship. Instead, he was feuding publicly with a teammate, contributing to the team underperforming.

Things changed that season. He won the regular-season Most Valuable Player award. His team won the championship, and the next two, with O’Neal winning the finals MVP all three times. Many compare him favorably to Wilt Chamberlain, another dominant center.

What turned things around in 1999?

A major contribution was the leadership of Phil Jackson, who started coaching O’Neal that year. Jackson had coached many ...

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