would have put this under history but it looks like nobody goes there lol
Shaq Top Ten List of Memories
Posted by Mark Madsen on 04/08/2011
Posted in: Sports
Tags: Big Aristotle, Commentator, NBA, Shaq, Shaq Retirement, Shaquille O'Neal
It’s been over 7 years since I left the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the most frequent questions people ask me is:
“Is it true that Shaquille O’Neal bought you a car when you showed up at training camp the first year?”
When I think of Shaquille I think about so many things and I wanted to share my top ten Shaq Stories from everything I know about him.
10) One year we were in Florida on an East Coast trip for Thanksgiving. The entire team was stuck in Florida with nothing to do so Shaq invited all the players, coaches, trainers, etc. over to his home and had an amazing Thanksgiving catered in. The food was awesome and after the meal, he gave us a tour of his house.
When he showed us his room, he showed us a nice flat panel TV and then said, “I used to have all the latest electronics, remotes, and everything in this room….now instead of the electronics, I’ve got diapers for my little ones.” He was beaming, has always loved his family, and frequently brought his wife and kids to the Staples Center to share the experience. He continued on the tour and showed us a new addition he was putting on his house. Samaki Walker asked “How many square feet are you adding?” Shaq answered with “10,000 square feet.” Samaki was amazed and said “Are you serious?” Shaq’s reply was “Hey man, you only live once.”
9) Before one of my last regular season games as a Laker on the road in Memphis, I was sitting in the locker room trying to get ready for the game mentally. All of a sudden, I look up and before I know it Shaq wants to wrestle. Next thing I knew we were in a full out wrestling match. Imagine trying to push around a 335 pound 7 foot man around who wasn’t even trying very hard to pin you. All I know is that after a minute or two I had given it may all and I was exhausted. Shaq let up but everyone in the locker room was loose an relaxed after the moment of fun. I’m not sure how I had the energy left to play the game, but I ended up playing one my better games and had 10 points which almost never happened. After the game Shaq said, “Nice game Mark, now I see that I need to wrestle you every game.”
8) Sitting in the locker room before a game in Milwaukee Shaq said something like “Anybody here know what the Pythagorean Theroem is?” Brian Shaw at that point was saying something like “What are you talking about Shaq?”
(Those were great friends from their Orlando days and they always messed with each other). Then Shaq went on to compare himself to the Pythagorean Thereom and said, “The Pythagorean Theorem is complicated, tough to figure out and I’m the same way. By the time the other team starts to figure me out [each game] I’ve got 29 [points] 13 [rebounds] and 5 [assists] and it’s too late.”
7) There was a cute flight attendant on one of the Lakers charters and I happened to be sitting next to Shaq. He looked right at her and said to her “Are you a mormon?” He knew I was mormon and single and next thing you know he’s asking a flight attendant if she happened to be mormon and if she was, that she should meet me. All this happened with me sitting right there. She happened to be of another religious faith, but trust me I will never forget that!! THEN, a few weeks later, a single member of the Lakers front office came up to me at the Staples Center and said “The most interesting thing happened last night….I’m sitting in a restaurant in Redondo Beach and Shaq was in there asking some of the girls if they were mormon because if they were, he wanted to set them up with you.”
The last three times I’ve seen Shaq the first question he asks me is “Are you married or engaged yet?” I’ve told him I’m “still working on it,” and he then always says, you better let me know when it happens because we’re coming to the wedding.
6) Shaq was rarely late to practice and Phil Jackson gave us one free “late pass” due to the unpredictable LA traffic. So one day Shaq comes in about ten minutes late and Phil Says, “Shaq, why are you late?” Shaq said, “I was coming down the highway and a big rig flipped full of chickens…there were eggs, feathers, and chickens everywhere. Sorry about that Phil.”
Two weeks later Shaq came late and Phil asked, “What happened Shaq?” Shaq said, “I was on time an everything then this huge truck filled with chickens flipped. There were eggs and feathers everywhere.” The whole team was dying laughing. Phil issued the fine, but I think even he loved it despite the fact that he had to fine Shaq.
5) Before our final game in New Jersey for the 3rd World Championship Shaq got everybody together and said something like, “We need to get this win tonight…we’ve got to do it for Mitch [Richmond].”
Mitch was in the last year of his career and had played a big role leadership-wise and had some nice games for the team. But he had not yet won a championship ring. Shaq just always respected the people who had gone before and all of the work that Mitch had put in and his stature and respect as an NBA veteran from before Shaq came into the league. He always talked in private about the respect he had for Wilt, Russell, George Mikan, etc. He gave so much respect to others who deserved it, and he received the same respect back.
4) In LA, Shaq was involved with law enforcement and used to tell us about enforcement operations he went on. Some of his stories were incredible. I was never quite sure where the intersection of fact and fiction was for one of those operations he told us about in LA. But here is one (probably of many examples) where Shaq stepped up in helping someone else. In this case he intervened with someone involved in bullying and assault towards a gay couple. Click Here
3) In his parting news conference someone asked Shaq what advice he had for players today. He answered by saying “Be leaders and not followers.” This is something that Shaquille O’Neal has done his entire career. On that trip when he did take me car shopping, (offered to take care of the down payment), he also bought every single player on the TRAINING CAMP roster a new rolex as a token of gratitude for the recent championship and his newly minted contract extension. He also stopped off at the Beverly Hills
Big and Tall store and spent $4,000 dollars on a new LA type wardrobe for me. On that same shopping trip a man on the side of the road in Beverly Hills had a sign “Honk if you’re against racism.” Shaq hon
2) The fun factor: The Big Fella conducted a symphonic orchestra!! Afterwards he was quoted with a new respect for directors saying that his arms were “shot” after the rehearsal. Click Here But he brought fun and laughing everywhere he went. One time after a Portland Trailblazers game Shaq was frustrated with me because he had wanted me to “go at” Rasheed Wallace more. I thought I had played Rasheed as tough as possible. But Shaq gave me an earful in the shower that night after the game. That was tough for me. The guy who took me under his wing for so long was upset with me and I was doing my best. Shaq continued to push me for a few days and then came back and built me up. Before a Denver game at home he said, “Every time you touch the ball tonight I want you to shoot it.” He just wanted me to be aggressive.
1) During a time in LA when the Lakers were gong through adversity, a few of us were in the locker room after practice getting showered up and ready to go home. He started talking about possibly retiring and his frustrations. The NBA had changed the defensive rules at the peak of Shaq’s dominance and some speculated that the rules were changed partly to respond to Shaq’s dominance. He was frustrated about this. He was probably frustrated with Hack-a-Shaq though he never talked much about that. He was probably mad that he got fouled so much and the opposition had to hit him hard so that Shaq would not get both the made basket and a free throw. But despite all of the hacking and refs sometimes missing calls (Shaq was so strong he played through a ton of fouls), he just kept on going. The #1 on my list is how Shaquille O’Neal gave the league, players, teammates and fans 19 years of great memories.
Edited by SweatShop, August 15, 2012 - 12:34 PM.