Phil Jackson Touts One of the NBA’s Unsung Heroes on Twitter

Shaquille O'Neal might never have played long enough to win four championships and get elected to the Hall of Fame were it not for a Glaswegian trainer named Alex McKechnie. 

In the 1997 preseason, Shaq experienced a sensation where his abs felt like they were "ripped in half, hanging together by one little thread" (per David Ebner of The Globe and Mail).

It was just his second season with the L.A. Lakers, so Phil Jackson and the training staff desperately sought a solution.

Luckily, they found it in McKechnie's core-training techniques up in Vancouver, and Phil is eternally grateful.

Apparently, Jackson—who recently joined Twitter—was listening to John Ireland's radio show with Steve Mason on L.A.'s KSPN. Ireland, who also works as the Lakers' radio play-by-play announcer, referred to the integral role McKechnie played for the team over 15 years ago, prompting a tweet from the former Lakers coach.

McKechnie's unorthodox exercises involved crooked platforms and intricate systems of rubber bands, but his rehab techniques were singular and revolutionary (per Ebner). Nowadays, core training gets utilized by both athletes and business executives who eschew a desk chair for an exercise ball (see Kyle MacLachlan as the mayor in Portlandia).

McKechnie aided O'Neal with his abdominal aches, and Shaq consequently averaged 28.3 points and 11.4 rebounds a night over 60 games in 1997-98. Having demonstrated his effectiveness, O'Neal trained with McKechnie for the next two offseasons.

Shaq increased his averages to 29.7 points and 13.6 boards per game in the 1999-00 season, which was coincidentally the first year of a Lakers' three-peat.

Of course, copious credit goes to Jackson and Kobe Bryant, but modern Lakers' history could have been radically different without McKechnie and his work with ...

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