The most memorable moment of O'Sullivan's 27-year career was arguably constructed in the first round of the 1997 World Championship when he made a perfect break in only five minutes and eight seconds of a 10-6 win over Mick Price.
But the five-times world champion – who has made a record 15 maximums and counting so far – prefers his effort in the final frame of a 13-7 win against his old rival Mark Williams in the second round 11 years later.
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It was his third Crucible 147 on his way to winning the 2008 title with an 18-8 win over fellow Essex player Ali Carter, who split the £147,000 highest break prize with his final opponent after emulating O'Sullivan's effort against Peter Ebdon in the quarter-finals.
He believes it was the "perfect timing" for him to make such a swashbuckling break after fearing he was going to be hammered with a heavy fine and a ban after apologising for making lewd comments in a press conference during the China Open in March 2008.
O'Sullivan also loved his Eurosport punditry colleague Jimmy White's 147 in the 1992 World Championship – only the second maximum of 10 in total in the history of the Sheffield event after Cliff Thorburn's historic 147 in 1983.
"I loved Jimmy White's 147 at the Crucible in 1992 when he was in his prime and was sporting long hair," recalls O'Sullivan, who earned a whopping £328,500 for his efforts over the 17 days at the Crucible 12 years ago.
"Tony Drago gave him a big hug. It was a terrific break. It was a great moment for Jimmy. Of course, I enjoyed my 147 in just over five minutes in 1997, but that wasn't my favourite maxi.
"It was a good one, but for me personally the one against Mark Williams in 2008 tops the list. It came at a good time because I had just got done for making lewd comments on a microphone in China. There was talk about me getting banned.
"I thought what reason could I give the authorities not to ban me? It was either win the World Championship or make a 147. So I got the 147, and I thought 'lovely'. That is the only reason why I showed a lot of emotion when I made it.
"I heard they were going to make an example of me. So I thought that would make them think twice, and also pay the fine that they were going to give me for the China episode. I went onto win and also had the 147. I thought: 'They can do what they like now, I don't really care.' It was great timing for me."
O'Sullivan was fined only £2,750 by the game's authorities, docked 700 ranking points and warned about his future conduct in June 2008 as his initial fears failed to materialise.
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- Stuart Bingham - 6
- Shaun Murphy - 5
- Tom Ford - 5
- Judd Trump - 4
- Marco Fu - 4
- Neil Robertson - 4
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- David Gilbert Eng (12) v Qualifier
- Jack Lisowski Eng (13) v Qualifier
- Mark Allen NI (4) v Qualifier
- Mark Williams Wal (3) v Qualifier
- Stuart Bingham Eng (14) v Qualifier
- Ding Junhui Chn (11) v Qualifier
- Ronnie O’Sullivan Eng (6) v Qualifier
- Mark Selby Eng (7) v Qualifier
- Shaun Murphy Eng (10) v Qualifier
- Barry Hawkins Eng (15) v Qualifier
- Neil Robertson Aus (2) v Qualifier
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