Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant centers to play in the NBA.
The three-time NBA Champion, cemented a legacy primarily during his days with Penny Hardaway and the Orlando Magic, the dynasty with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers and his bond in South Beach with Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat.
The first pick by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft out of LSU, Shaq had a strong foundation: his parents Lucille O’Neal and the late Phillip Harrison.
On Thursday’s episode of Power 105’s The Breakfast Club, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith shared with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlemagne tha God that Shaq’s parents encouraged the First Take host to be tough on The Big Aristotle during his playing days.
“Shaq’s mom came up to me and she was furious with me,” he told The Breakfast Club.
“And I was like: ‘what I do’
She said: ‘You’re too soft on my son! You’re not holding him accountable enough. I need you to be tough on him, stuff like that.’
So he [Shaq] got mad at me one time and I looked at him and said: ‘Right there!’
He said: ‘What are you pointing at my mother for?’ I said: ‘Ask her, she told me to write it. She told me you were being soft.;
The Sarge, God rest his soul, his step dad, he told me: ‘You’re being too soft on him, he’s supposed to be dominating. He’s taking pretty boy, turnaround jumpshots.’
His stepdad used to be like: ‘You dropstep and you yam it down in there. That’s what you do! ‘
A Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal was successful on the court during his 19-year NBA career.
O’Neal who led the NBA in shooting percentage for all but one year while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers always had tough love.
He made history in the 90s when he signed a seven-year, $121 million contract with the Lakers.
The Lakers won 56 games during the 1996–97 season.The Lakers made the playoffs and were eliminated in the by the Utah Jazz in five games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
Shaq averaged 26.2 points and 12.5 rebounds in his first season in Tinsel Town despite missing over 30 games due to injury.
He told me over the summer that he credits Jerry West’s honesty in convicing him to sign with the purple and gold.
“All Jerry West did was tell the truth,” Shaq told me.
“So when I was leaving Orlando, he brought me here and told me the truth. I would have a young team and a guy named Kobe. That guy’s going to be good but in a couple of years you’re going to have championships. It wasn’t no ‘get you this or get you that.’ Jerry’s not that type of guy.”
NBA Hall of Famer, Jerry West, currently in a consultant role with the Los Angeles Clippers was the architect in creating the great 1980s Lakers dynasty which brought five championship rings (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988) to the purple and gold.