As the stars descended upon Denver for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, a touching exchange between two of the greatest athletes of all-time gave both NBA and NFL fans a pre-game moment to be hyped about.
One of the many ESPN cameras courtside for Monday’s matchup between the Heat and Nuggets captured Peyton Manning and Shaquille O’Neal greeting each other prior to tipoff. Shortly after the Hall of Famers shook hands, Manning introduced O’Neal to his 12-year-old son Marshall, who was wearing a Nuggets-era Allen Iverson jersey.
The young Marshall then shook Shaq’s hand before getting pulled in by the NBA legend for a big bear hug. O’Neal then shared a few more words and a laugh with Peyton, which appeared to start after the former Broncos quarterback made a comment about Charles Barkley.
Shaq 🤝 Peyton pic.twitter.com/PhTNeMoH9L— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 2, 2023
On a night where many eyes around the sports world are fixed on Ball Arena, Shaq’s moment with the Mannings, naturally, made for a viral moment worthy of such a big night.
Not to mention, the sight of Manning and O’Neal—owners of a combined six league MVP awards and six championship rings in their respective leagues—also served as a great shot of nostalgia for old school sports fans and those of a new generation.