Per Shaq’s biography, Shaq Talks Back:
“Me and Dave have history,” I looked up to him when I was at Cole High in San Antonio, and he was just starting out with the Spurs. I was a player-of-the-year for my high school. He was player-of-the-year for the Spurs. One time I asked him for an autograph.
He wrote his name real quick and was like, “Yeah, come on, hurry up.” He kind of dogged me out. He was my favorite player. That’s OK. I said to myself, “When I see you, I’m gonna get you.”
“I don’t hate Dave off the court. I just had to dominate him on it because I got tired of the Goody Two-Shoes image he was throwing out there. He was this crossover guy everyone liked. And I was this big, bad wolf dunking on everyone. Everyone was trying to make it out to be black and white, and it didn’t seem right. So I had to do him like that.”
Check out our discussion below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Shaq, you have always been the type of person who has used something as motivation. When I think of off the top of my head besides Michael who was able to do that efficiently was Rasheed Wallace. You did this interview when you talked with Ernie Johnson about David Robinson and how he motivated you. You made up a story in your mind or you said he didn’t sign something for you or he disregarded you. And you later said that wasn’t true and you had the ultimate respect for David. Did you have to have something to motivate you in order – like could you function in the NBA without having someone to motivate you in that regard?
Shaquille O’Neal: The nice guys, yes. David was just so nice and respectful. He’s just a nice guy. I’m not a bully. You have to piss me off for me to get mad. David was, Hey Shaq how ya doin’?, How’s your family?, so nice and – so I had to make something up just to make me mad and then when I came down to San Antonio and the fans start booing me – Oh you’re booing me in my hometown?… and then it was like a hatred thing for David and the Spurs. But it was all made up.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who’s the next Shaq?
Shaquille O’Neal: Nobody. You have to have a different mindset. My mindset is of a broken, crazy mindset. First thing I said to myself: I don’t play well if my momma doesn’t have a house. That’s the first thing I always say. Second thing, you can’t outplay me in front of my momma. I know she’s watching. Third thing, I’ma make all y’all remember my name. Fourth thing, they say that Wilt was the strongest? Watch this. Fifth thing, I wanna be known – I wanna be looked at as Magic and Michael and all those people. Sixth thing, ya’ll gonna still remember my name. Seventh thing, I’ma make sure y’all remember my name forever. And the eighth thing, I’m going to make the Hall of Fame and I don’t care about nothing else. A lot of times when you do that you sacrifice a lot. But people ask me how do I be feeling, in sacrificing that I never got to see my baby sister a lot. See what I’m sayin’? So when she passed away last year, I was really messed up by that. So to answer your question; Who would be the next Shaq – nobody. I gave up a lot to be so-called great. So-called the best ever.