Shaquille O’Neal Quotes
Shaq Videos on YouTube:
“I’ve won at every level, except college and pro.”
“I’ve succeeded at every level, except high school and college.”
After winning the state high school basketball championship:
REPORTER: Shaquille, what do you attribute your team’s success to?
SHAQ: I attribute it to me.
SHAQ: Everybody always talks about winning. Phil took us to the Finals four out of five years. We won three years out of five. To my math, that’s 60% of the time.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: You can count?
“Phil took us to the finals three out of the five years and you want to fire him and want to bring in Mike Krzyzewski? Come on, man. That’s like being married to J-Lo, then dropping J-Lo for a girl that’s 5-10, 480 (pounds).”
(After Game 3 of the 2004 NBA Finals, when the Lakers lost to the Pistons 88-68)
REPORTER: There was a certain part of the game when you were getting the ball down low and you were scoring every time, and then it seemed like you guys went away from that.
SHAQ: Yeah. The story of my life, buddy.
“Doesn’t matter. If I would’ve had a beer before the game, I would’ve been drunk. So I don’t believe in ‘if.’” (Responding to a reporter asking whether the Heat would still have beaten Portland if Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Darius Miles were playing.)
“Remember this—I’m going to bring a championship to
“Stay out of the gentlemen’s clubs. Get a lot of rest. Just have fun and relax and stay focused.” (O’Neal’s secret to road wins.)
“It matters in a fatherly way.” (On legacy.)
“I’ll take 14 out of 15 any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year, any year of the century. I don’t know what comes after century.” (On having the Heat’s 14-game winning streak snapped.)
“I respect the older guys.”
“If I don’t get five [titles], I won’t be happy with myself as a basketball player. I don’t know how you guys will feel about me.”
“Our offense is like the Pythagorean Theorem. There is no answer.”
“We’re focusing on the whole pie, not a slice. A slice is good, but it’s not good enough to get you fat. We’re trying to get fat.” (Probably referring to winning the title.)
“It’s sort of like in the movie The Karate Kid when Daniel said he needed Mr. Miyagi. And Mr. Miyagi gave him that confidence to believe he really didn’t. These guys think they really need me right now, but they don’t. When I come back, we’ll all need each other to step up our games and do what needs to be done.” (When asked how his return from injury will boost the confidence of the Miami Heat team.)
“I’m very excited about my new agreement with the Heat….This contract allows me to address all of my family’s long-term financial goals while allowing the Heat the ability to acquire those players that we need to win a championship.”
“I told our guys they must not have cable because Antoine Walker knows how to play, Derek Anderson can play, Shandon Anderson knows how to play, and Gary Payton knows how play.” (Referring to the Raptors’ excessive defensive focus on Dwyane Wade throughout the game.)
“The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning.”
“Stats don’t matter. I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I’m happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I’m pissed off. ‘Cause I knew I did something wrong. I’ll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game.”
“The stats win nothing. I’m still sexy. I’m still great.”
“This really isn’t a game we really should be proud of. This game is liking taking your kids to the zoo. You’re supposed to take your kids to the zoo. You’re a father. So a team like that, we’re supposed to beat them like this.”
“I’m not a young jitterbug anymore. When I was a young jitterbug, I never won. I didn’t start winning until I got older. The older I get, the wiser I get. You just have to play it smart.”
On his first championship:
“Why did it happen? The big dog got fed. And when the big dog was fed, the little dog even got some meat in there, too. Big dog owns the domain, but the little dog can go wherever he wants.”
“I’m not worried about facing the Sacramento Queens. Write it down. Take a picture. I’m not going to talk about this all year. When I get back, there’s going to be trouble.” (Before a game against the Sacramento Kings.)
REPORTER: Let’s just say that a snake bit your mom right here, right in the chest area. Would you be willing to suck the venom out to win the title?
SHAQ: No, but I would with your wife.
“We’re going to do it again next year. We’ll see you again next year. Yeah, I said it. Yeah, I said it. We will do it again next year.”
“The first three championships that I won, I won them. I had big numbers and I won them. And last year, the guys won it for me. They won it for the big guy. Numbers are overrated. There’s a lot of guys in this league who can say they’ve got great numbers. But they can’t say they’ve got four rings in the last six years.”
At Game 4 of the 2001 NBA Finals, with the Lakers closing in on consecutive championships, O’Neal is asked how much he had matured since his Orlando Magic got swept by Houston in the 1995 NBA Finals.
“I failed, I think, seven [or] eight times before I finally got my first [championship]. It was just, you know, just about me growing up. Now that I’m an old, old veteran—age 29—I do things a lot differently. I don’t go to the gentlemen’s clubs anymore. I had to slow that down.”
When asked about the one remaining victory needed in order
to clinch the 2001 NBA Championship against
“It’s just one more win. I don’t give a [bleep] how we do it, as long as we get it done. Did I say [bleep]? I’m sorry.”
“We would love to have
“I don’t see us having a problem. It’s going to be my job to manage the locker room, anyway, so it will work out.” (Referring to the Heat team at the beginning of the 2005-06 season.)
“If you go 72-11 and don’t win (the championship), it doesn’t mean anything. Actually it does. It means you’ve cheated and played an extra regular-season game.”
“Their unselfishness, the way they play and their poise factor. When you never panic, that’s a great sign.”
“Every time that I’ve won a championship I’ve looked at my guys around me and looked at their work ethic and said ‘You know what, I’m going to win it this year. I feel that way now.”
“Like my good friend Eminem the rapper says, you only get one shot.”
“The only person who can really motivate you is you.”
REPORTER: Shaq, do you have a special routine before the playoffs?
SHAQ: Yeah, I let your mother rub my feet.
“They say things happen in three. I won with the great Kobe, the great D-Wade and now it’s my job to win one with the great LeBron James. We have everything in place. We just got to get it done.”
“My thing back then was, it was always gonna be my fault if we don’t win, so we’re gonna have to do shit my way. When I was with Orlando, we was doing it everybody else’s way — and I always got blamed. So I just got it in my head, Fuck it, if I’m gonna get blamed, I’m gonna do it my way. Period, point-blank.”
“In the seven or eight years we were together, we were never
“I’m not the one buying love. He’s the one buying love.” (On a ring – reportedly costing several million dollars – that Kobe Bryant bought for his wife, Vanessa, after he was charged with felony sexual assault.)
“If you’ve got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you
know what’s going to happen. He’s a
Corvette. I’m a brick wall.” (When asked how he might react if
“I don’t know their names.
Their names have been erased from my memory banks. If I tried to bring ‘em
back, I’d get shocked.” (Referring to
the two or three people in
“Let’s put it in old movie Mafia terms. There are guys that are in position to get by but they didn’t wait their turn. They back-doored the top guy to get the power. For example, Sonny Corleone (from ‘The Godfather’) went up there, and he wanted to be the top guy. And the Godfather said, ‘You know what dude, I’m a star.’ That’s what I’m doing now, and that’s what I was trying to do with what’s-his-name.” (Referring to Bryant.)
“There is nothing to say because I know everything about him. I raised him. I know what’s a charade, and I know what’s not a charade. I’ll leave it at that.”
“There is nothing for me to be sour about. What you got to understand is that I’m a military man. We usually do my shift for four or five years and then you got to move on.” (Referring to his former Lakers team.)
“I’m not going to try to go out there and outdo him. I don’t have to try to outdo him, I’m Shaq.” (Referring to Bryant in the Heat-Lakers game.)
“My personal opinion is, how, if you never hung out with
somebody, do you know them so well? I never hung out with that dude because the
dude is a weirdo.” (Referring to
“I’m a cop, and cops talk. They called me the day he did it, but did you ever hear me say anything about it? I played ball, because that’s how I am. I’m true.”
REPORTER: How about all your fans in
SHAQ: I miss all the police officers. I miss all the valet parkers at the mall. I miss all the little people. I miss everybody.
“If you don’t stick to simplicity, you’ll die a horrible death.” (Referring to the Shaq-Kobe dynasty losing for the first time in the Finals.)
“That’s sort of a trick question, and I don’t have a trick answer. Next question, please.” (When asked about Bryant’s aggressive style.)
Lakers owner Jerry Buss said Wednesday he didn’t regret trading O’Neal to the Heat despite the Lakers’ struggles this season without him.
O’Neal responded to Buss’ comments Thursday.
“I don’t regret him losing money and him not making the playoffs,” O’Neal said.
Buss also said that O’Neal lost weight last off-season
(approximately 30 pounds) only because the trade to
O’Neal refuted that claim while taking a shot at his former team’s owner.
“I didn’t need motivation,” O’Neal said. “I needed a real owner like Micky Arison, not a guy that parties with girls three times [younger than him] -- when you’re 60, hang out with 60-year-olds, not 20-year-olds. You can quote me on that. I’ve got nothing else to say about Jerry Buss.”
ESPN: People said that he is really motivated this
year because he really wants to stick it to the Lakers. How true is that?
SHAQ: I don’t let earthlings motivate me. I only let factors motivate me. The only thing that motivates me is, when I’m done playing, I want people to say, ‘He’s the Baddest Mother (expletive) to ever play the game.’ Right now I am hearing that from some of the people. When I am done playing I want to hear that from all of the people. So right now I have three championships. That’s cool. I could probably retire now and wait 10 years and most likely be named into the Hall of Fame. Whoopty do. Right now I am not satisfied with my career just winning three championships, because I have been there five times, and I should have five right now. Should have five. Should have six, including this year, but it didn’t happen that way.
ESPN: Have you talked to Phil at all?
SHAQ: No. I’ll do it here on ESPN. ‘Congratulations Phil.’ There is no need to talk, ‘cause he’s not in, he’s not in the neutral waters any more. So I’ll just say congratulations and we’ll leave it at that.
ESPN: Do you ever see the day where it would be possible for you to sit down, have a talk with Kobe Bryant?
SHAQ: You know what I am not familiar with that name, I know a lot of names and I have a lot of names in my head, but I am not familiar with that name. Especially if there is nothing to talk about, I’m sorry I can’t recall that name.
“I don’t know. I don’t have a fax machine, so I didn’t get
that message.” (When asked if he thought
“Merry Christmas.” (When asked about why he didn’t shake hands with Kobe Bryant right before the Lakers-Heat game.)
“We want [stuff] done right. As long as it’s my team, I’ll voice my opinion. Yep, it’s my team. You [media] guys might give it to him, like you’ve given him everything else his whole lifetime, but this is the Diesel’s ship. And if we’re not right, I’m going to go out there and try to get [it] right.... Just ask Karl [Malone] and Gary [Payton] why they wanted to come here. [It was because of] one person, not two. One.”
“He doesn’t need advice on how to play his position, but he
needs advice on how to play team ball….If it’s going to be my team, I’ll voice
my opinion. If he don’t like it, he can opt out.” (On
“This summer is going to be a different summer for a lot of people. Everyone is going to take care of their own business and everyone is going to do what’s best for them, including me.” (On June 15, 2004, after the Lakers were eliminated by the Pistons from the NBA Finals.)
“I don’t have to make a point. I’m George Bush. I’m the president. I built that arena, so I don’t have to make a point.”
On why he barely acknowledged Kobe Bryant before a Lakers-Heat game:
“I didn’t say anything. Got nothing to say. I’m a married man; I don’t need a relationship with another man.”
“He’s just intelligent—sort of a nerd, actually. He’s the only brother I know who made a 1420
on the SAT. I don’t think Chris Dudley
did that, and Mr. Smarty Pants went to Yale.
“I’m sorry, who?” (When asked about his relationship with Kobe Bryant.)
“Look up the word role in the dictionary and you’ll see it means playing a part. That’s why I call myself a real model. The best quality about Kobe Bryant? You want me to be honest? I don’t know. I’ll tell you why. I open my arms to everybody. But he never stepped forward for the embrace. So I never really got to know him. I don’t know anything about him, and it’s kinda sad.”
“Talk to the guys that ain’t doing nothing, don’t talk to me. I just want eight guys out there with me who want to play.” (Shaq’s response to the Lakers losing badly to the Warriors.)
Shaq was asked to evaluate rookie Luke Walton’s passing skills, who recorded 8 assists against the Pistons in Game 2 of the 2004 NBA Finals:
“It amazes me how [Walton] can give me the ball and guys that have been playing with me four, five, six years can’t give me the ball.”
During the 2000 NBA Finals against
“Yeah, I had some rice with my chicken last night. I wanted some gravy, but gravy was fattening and I’m trying to lose weight.”
After Shaq fouled out in Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals,
“The Big Little Brother.”
“I had orders from the great Bill Russell. Me and him were
“Since I suffered the injury on company time, why shouldn’t I also be able to get surgery and do recovery on company time?”
“How can Benedict Arnold be reliable in what he says?” (Referring to Phil Jackson, who criticized his work ethic after the Heat won the 2006 NBA Championship.)
“He’s a jokester, and that’s funny, very funny. Ha-ha. Very funny.” (Shaq’s sarcastic retort to Phil Jackson’s claim that, in Shaq’s initial Suns game, he would be “taking the ball out of bounds and waiting for the other team to get back.”)
“We had more great times than bad times together, but they’ve moved on, I’ve moved on. I have a new team now and I have a new focus.”
“I’m probably going to have to go with Kobester. He’s an assassin with LeBron coming right after.” (Referring to the 2007-2008 MPV race.)
When asked, in a recent interview with the Sporting News, to talk about the best teammates he has ever had:
“Most ferocious was
“You know how I be. Last week Kobe couldn’t do without me.” (In a rap at Village Underground in New York City.)
When asked what his fifth championship meant to him personally, Bryant declared, "I got one more than Shaq. So you can take that to the bank."
Shaq’s response: "My first thought [after hearing that] was, 'Well, I guess I'm still relevant. Kobe is still thinking about me, I guess. I'm still someone to be measured against. But I don't compete with little guards. I don't compete with little guys who run around dominating the ball, throwing up 30 shots a night -- like D-Wade, Kobe. Now if Tim Duncan said it, I'd be pissed. He's the only guy I'm competing with. If Tim Duncan gets five rings, then that gives some writer the chance to say 'Duncan is the best,' and I can't have that.”
“If I was able to have the game I have and shoot 80% from the line, I’d probably be an arrogant person rather than a humble one. Everything happens for a reason.”
“It don’t work.” (To Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale, who elected to pursue the Hack-a-Shaq strategy. Shaq made 5-of-6 free throws.)
“In this millennium that we live in, the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’has proven not to work. It might work a couple games every now and then, but when it comes to the playoffs or a championship series, it doesn’t work - not at all.”
“A lot of coaches play percentages when it comes to me, but that’s just a way of saying that you can’t stop me.”
REPORTER: If you could pick a song to sing on the free throw line to relax you, what would it be?
SHAQ: Guant a la mena.
REPORTER: Is there anything that would describe your free-throw shooting in German?
“(The Hack-A-Shaq is) just a way of telling me that you can’t stop me. Thank you. I appreciate it.”
“Coach (Pat) Riley told us on June 8 we’d win the title on June 20.”
“Yeah, D-Wade called me up last night and said that he saw some film of me in high school and thinks that my form then was better and that I should shoot like that. I told him I’d think about it and then my pops called and said something like that so I decided to revert back and then...” (Rambling about making 4 out of 6 free throws in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.)
“When I concentrate and focus, they always go in, so I’m gonna continue to do that, and they will go in.” (Explaining the miracle he performed in hitting two consecutive free throws.)
“Me having a beautiful wife and great family and friends around me, all the money I’ve got, all the things that I’ve got, a Ferrari that I just ripped the top off of and turned into a convertible, the rings I got, the two mansions on the water, a master’s in criminal justice, I’m a cop, plus I look good. So me shooting 40 percent at the foul line is just God’s way of saying that nobody’s perfect. If I shot 90 percent from the line, it just wouldn’t be right.”
“I’d shoot zero percent before I’d shoot underhanded.”
“Probably a lack of concentration. I always hit them during practice. I just need to concentrate. Even though I should a lousy percentage, I beat a lot of teams from the line. You have to have mechanics. But see, what people don’t know about my wrists is my wrists don’t go all the way back. My wrists are crooked and don’t go all the way back. I’ve been practicing and working on them. You can’t do everything good.”
Shaq had just made 12 of 14 free throws in Game 2 of the 2002 NBA Finals, leading to a 23-point rout against the Nets. He then responds to previous complaints by Nets coach Rick Adelman about O’Neal stepping over the line while shooting free throws.
“That game was dedicated to Rick Adelman. I’m at home, in the bathroom, trying to take a dump, flipping through the channels and he’s complaining (on TV) about how I’m stepping over the line. I can’t even do a No. 2 in peace. I’m sitting there grunting at 12:30 at night. Can I go one day without somebody saying something negative about me?”
After missing 10 free throws in a 9-point loss to
“I think everything happens for a reason. With my game being the way it is, if I did shoot 80 percent, I’d be a harder person to deal with. It just keeps me humble. Just imagine me in my game shooting the same percentage that Reggie Miller shoots. I wouldn’t even talk to you guys because I wouldn’t have to.”
“I’ll hit them when it matters.”
“I knew I was going to make one. I wanted to make two, but the first one rattled in and rattled right out.”
What we can argue with is what Shaq told Stephen A. Smith about Rick Barry’s long-standing offer to teach him to shoot free throws underhand:
“Rick Barry’s resume is not good enough to even come into my office to be qualified for a job. I will shoot negative-30 percent before I shoot underhanded,” Shaq said.
All we’re gonna say is that Rick is in the Hall of Fame, has a ring, averaged 23 points a game over his career, and shot 90 percent from the stripe.
“I’m going to be on a mission. I’ve handled my personal vendettas and handled them well. Every challenge you put in front of me, I’ve handled it, dismantled it – ate them, dropped them off in the bathroom and flushed them away.”
“I wouldn’t. I would just go home. I’d fake an injury or something.” (When asked how he would defend against himself.)
“But can’t nobody (mess) with me. I’m like toilet paper, Pampers and toothpaste. I’m definitely proven to be effective.”
“I weigh 330,000 pounds…I’m the NBA’s best NFL player, and I’ve always been the sexiest 7-footer in the NBA – for 12 years running.” (When asked what his weight is.)
“I’m always ready for a change. I’m Irish. I’m a leprechaun.” (When asked on his ability to handle the change in playing for the Miami Heat.)
“I’ll beat you up right now if you want me to.” (When asked to comment on his strength.)
“The East is going to be pretty easy for me. The Great Chest of the West becomes the Great Beast of the East.”
“I told my wife the other day, I’m the
“I’m George Bush. I’m the president.”
“I make the game easy. Double and triple me, I’ll kick it out to you for a wide-open shot. I’ll add years to your career.”
“I don’t have to shoot from more than two feet. I’m top 50. I’ve got 23,000 from where I shoot.” (Responding to Danny Fortson’s statement that Shaq is ineffective when he is more than two feet away from the hoop.)
“I’m getting older. I’m getting sexier. I’m getting meaner. I can still do what I do.”
“I don’t see anybody, in any conference, that can shut me down. Any conference, anywhere in the world.”
“No matter where they put people, no matter how they try to promote people, there aren’t too many people in the game today that are on my level on and off the court.”
“Being the best right now doesn’t do anything for my feathers.”
“I’m upset at myself. I should have had 50. I missed 13 free throws. That’s unacceptable. If I want to be accepted by Wilt and Kareem and Russell I’ve got to start playing better than that. Right now I’m still in the class of Hakeem and David Robinson and that’s not good enough for me. I want to be out there with the immortals.”
“As a general, and as a leader of this team, whatever I’ve got to do get my guys going I’ll do it every time. If I have to be the bad guy sometime, I’ll guess I’ll take that. That’s what a leader and a general and a chief of police does. Everybody is not going to like it, but I don’t care if they like or not. I’m Bush, so if they don’t like it resign.”
“I think I’m one of the patches of the quilt here, myself and Dwyane.”
“The biggest thing that will define my legacy is how I’ve done it, and what I’ve done, and who I am. I’m a weird big guy. Doing rapping, doing movies. Do a lot of stuff. But always do things the right way. Went to the police academy to become a police officer. Get his master’s in criminal justice, stayed out of trouble. Played for three different teams. Changed three different franchises around. This is a guy who they would have secret meetings about to change the rules. So, that’s going to be my legacy: the most dominant player ever.”
“I’ve read that same formula, but as an athlete I’m classified as phenomenal. You could look it up.” (Referring to the body-mass index, which would claim that Shaq is obese.)
“My game’s like the Pythagorean Theorem. It ain’t got no answer.”
“I don’t know how it is for you earthlings, but where I’m from, strength is mental.”
“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. And the one guy who didn’t vote (for me),
thank you, too.” (After receiving 120 of
121 first-place MVP votes from a panel of broadcasters and sports writers
“I know how to turn the bad into good always.”
“I’m just getting better and better. It’s just like a bunch of worker bees protecting the king bee, because I’m not a queen bee. I’m a king bee.”
“I’m going back to the old Shaq. I was normal last year – I was an earthling last summer. I had to go back to my alien roots.”
“I knew I was dog meat. Luckily, I’m the high-priced dog meat that everybody wants. I’m the good-quality dog meat. I’m the Alpo of the NBA.”
“If you got the game, you got the game. That’s why Tiger Woods is out there playing golf with Greg Norman.”
REPORTER: Give me the breakdown between the Orlando Shaq, the LA Shaq, and the Miami Shaq. Who’s the best in a pickup game?
SHAQ: I’d have to probably go with the Miami Shaq. He’s much smarter. Much older. A little bit slower. But much smarter. You know, the older you get, the wiser you get, and the wise man always wins.
a criticism out there of you, though, that physically, you’re not going to be
able to last over 82 games and the playoffs anymore. What do you think of that?
SHAQ: Uh, I take a beating, so, you know, a guy that’s been taking a beating for 13 years probably will wear down one day. But it still won’t help out the opponent. It happens. It’s life. I’m getting older. You’re getting older asking me these questions. It’s life. But the older I get, the sexier I get. [Licks finger, touches moustache twice, and points to camera.] That’s all that matters.
“I was like, ‘Huh? You want my jersey?’” (Referring to his thoughts after Micky Arison repeatedly flashed three and then two fingers at O’Neal. Shaq’s number is 32, but Arison was referring to Shaq’s second career triple-double in that game.)
“Somebody asked me about this the other day. A young Shaq and a young Penny, the young
Shaq’s going to take over. A medium Shaq and a young
“I just said to myself, ‘Damn, I’m a great player.’” (Referring to a ridiculous backhand flip that somehow banked in while turning to the basket from the middle of the lane.)
“Every team that plays us plays above their heads. That’s because of me.”
“They want to beat the Don Dadda. It means, ‘The Man.’”
“I’m the LCL -- the Last Center Left. I’ve been doing the same things for 13 years, but now they’re flopping and falling, and the refs are falling for it, too.”
“I’m the last in the line of Russells and Chamberlains.”
“I’m one year older, one year sexier -- one more, baby. For me, it’s all about the bigger picture. We want to win the whole thing. We’ve got to beat whoever is in our way.”
“When you feed the big dog, it does whatever you tell him to do.” (Referring to himself.)
“When you flop, that’s just another message that you don’t know how to play me. Stand up and take your medicine like a man.”
“You have to foul me to stop me, period.”
“Win or lose, I am programmed to do more. That’s because I am the other son of Jorel - Superman.”
“I’m like the Pythagorean theorem. Not too many people know the answer to my game.”
“I’m dominant every night. I come in every night and get beat up. I never make a face when they try to flagrant or hack-a-Shaq me, because I’m not from this planet. Earthlings don’t faze me...”
“I painted my toenails before Dennis Rodman. One time at training camp, I stubbed my toe and the nail came loose. My mom gave me some toenail hardener, and I painted over it. I scored 40-something points that night, so it became a ritual. Paint my toenails, score 40 points.”
“Once the Hack-a-Shaq works once, you know I’m going to see it again. The only thing worse for basketball than that defense is the Lack-a-Shaq offense, where I have to go to the bench because of foul trouble. There is no fun in that.”
“Before I became the ‘Great Test of the West,” I was the ‘Beast of the East.’”
“Guys have made livings off me. Nick Anderson got a new
contract. Travis Knight got a new contract off me. As a matter of fact, Derek
Fisher called me yesterday to thank me [he had recently signed a deal with
“My secret? See it, and stay focused on it.”
“I never worry about the problem. I worry about the solution.”
“I take it personal when people don’t double me. It’s against my religion not to double me. It upsets me. It makes me think they’re saying to themselves I don’t have it anymore.”
“I want to be strong, dominant. Like Wilt Chamberlain.”
“There is no answer to the Pythagorean theorem. Well, there is an answer, but by the time you figure it out, I got 40 points, 10 rebounds, and then we’re planning for the parade.”
“Challenge me. Treat me like a game of checkers and play me.
That’s all I’m asking, just play me. Treat me like Sega and play me.” (Referring to his frustration with Dikembe Mutombo’s “flopping”
during the 2001 NBA Finals against
“I am Superman. And the only thing that can kill Superman is Kryptonite. And Kryptonite doesn’t exist.”
Rolling down the window of his SUV while driving through South Central and shouting at the top of his lungs:
“I…am…the son of Jor-El!”
REPORTER: Toughest opponent you’ve played against over the years?
REPORTER: With the Super Bowl in
SHAQ: It would have been tight end, and I would’ve the Super Bowl MVP like Marvin Harrison’s gonna be.
“I really get motivated when I have doubters.”
“Word has it, they think I’m an old man, and they’re not gonna double me. My message is that I’m the baddest for my age bracketest. What I mean by age bracketest is that I came in at 20, I was the baddest 20, and I’m the baddest at 35.” (After scoring 31 points in a win over the Pistons.)
“I don’t listen to people who can’t do stuff that I do.”
REPORTER: Build the perfect basketball player using four traits from other players? Any four traits…someone’s quickness, someone’s jumping ability, smarts, whatever.
SHAQ: Me. And all of my traits.”
REPORTER: Guys are always talking about how hard it is to move you. Shane Battier says you have the kind of strength your Dad had when kids were little. Is there a difficult guy for you to uproot?
SHAQ: No. Actually,
“I’m on a mission. And I know the older I get, I may lose a step or two, but it’s all up in the medulla oblongata. I’ve got a lot up there. I’ve got a lot of knowledge...in this medulla oblongata.” (The medulla oblongata is a medical term for the base of one’s brain.)
REPORTER: Has there ever been a more physically gifted athlete in sports than you?
SHAQ: Never. Nobody.
REPORTER: I’ve always thought you could have been the NFL’s best tight end…
SHAQ: I would have to agree with you. I like physical contact, and I have great hands. If the Dolphins want to sign me, three years and $25 million. Throw it up like an alley-oop. I’ll go get it.
“I’m still the baddest [expletive] in the world. Yeah, I’m getting older, but Kareem got older. Hakeem got older. I don’t need Earthlings’ respect. When it’s all said and done, my name will be there and it will be mentioned ... unless you Earthlings try to erase it.”
“I’m more like a senior adviser so I don’t like to come in here and try to take over. Just like your basic karate movie where the young guys come to the old guys with beards who have them do weird stuff to get to the other side. That’s who I am, the old guy with a long beard.” (Referring to his new role with the Phoenix Suns.)
“You like that analogy? That was pretty good?” (Referring to the quote above.)
“Me.” (When asked to name the best-passing big man he has seen in 16 NBA seasons.)
“I’m not really worried about my numbers now as a 36-year-old. I’m not trying to be the first, experimental case of a 36-year-older trying to maintain his numbers, especially when I’m on a team like this. Can I do the same stuff I could do when I was Amare’s age? Of course not. I’m not going to even try. However, I feel that I’m the baddest 36-year-old out there.”
“I take that as an insult, even at 36.” (Referring to the Spurs’ decision not to double-team him.)
REPORTER: You’re in very good shape these days. What’s your secret?
SHAQ: I was with your mother last week. She took care of me very well.
“I’d heard stuff from out there that I was just another
player, that I was too young. I wanted to show I could play with anybody.” (Regarding an anticipated college match
Upon hearing that
“I’ve never had one.” (Upon asked about his most humbling experience.)
“I don’t really consider myself one of those superstars. I just consider myself a guy that was lucky enough to win the athletic lottery many times over.”
“If you’re going to hire an assassin, let him go out and kill someone. I can’t be Shaq taking six or seven shots.”
“If you want Shaq to be Shaq, you’ve got to remember that Shaq is known for wreaking havoc offensively — 26,000-plus points without (consistently) making free throws. Don’t have me doing something I’m not (used to) doing. I ain’t used to being a pick-setter. Let me badda-bing, badda-bang.”
Referring to his excellent field goal percentage when obtaining the ball near the basket:
“If I get that thing down there in that area, that’s 67% lifetime. If you don’t believe me, Google it. I’m on the Internet.”
“I think I’m the only player who looks at each and every center and says to myself, ‘That’s barbecued chicken down there.’” (After a 45-point, 11-rebound performance—his best scoring output in six years.)
“Przybilla can’t guard me when I’m 27, 37 or 47.”
“I have a lot left. There’s only four or five good centers in the league and I’m in that number. ... I’ve been in it [the NBA] for 17 years but I’ve missed three years because of injury. If you do the math, I’ve still got three years left. You got that?”
“‘I’m still here. I’m a force to be reckoned with...you have to come take my spot, and not through Twitter and not through the media, come take my spot. I’m ready to go. As big men in the league, there are two who have done something special during this millennium. I’m one and Tim Duncan is the other. Anyone else has to come upstairs and see the Shogun. I’m still the Shogun.”
“The only demise of Shaquille O’Neal will be his age.”
“I’m still the Dun Dada of all big men.”
REPORTER: You looking forward to seeing Dwight Howard again?
SHAQ: Yes. See, this is also more marketing. If you compare a twenty-two-year-old to a thirty-nine-year-old, I must be a bad motherfucker.
REPORTER: Do you still consider yourself one of the best players in the game?
SHAQ: Everyone always wants the title as the best player in the game. I own my title, and I still own it to this day. A lot of people want to take shots now, but I’m 38. But the only person in the league that slowed me down was a brother named father time, and that’s life, it slows everybody down. But no big man is ever going to do what I and Tim Duncan have done in our careers. It was time for 10 consecutive years that either me or Tim was in the NBA Finals. It was broken two years, but there will never be another big guy to do that.
REPORTER: What do you want your legacy to be?
SHAQ: I never had an inconsistent year, and I’ve always been dominant. I’m the No. 5 all-time scorer — 2,000 points behind Wilt Chamberlain. Once I pass him up, I want the title as the most dominant to ever play the game. When I’m done, it would be nice to say that I passed up Chamberlain, earned five rings, and finished in the (top) 10 all-time in blocks and rebounds. Hopefully all of that will put me on the first ballot for the Hall of Fame.
“I’m tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.”
“As a basketball fan, I get sick and tired of people talking about numbers. To me, the world is getting too materialistic.” (After signing a seven-year $121 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.)
“I’m the master marketer.”
“I’m a clown.”
“If you don’t like me, there must be something wrong with you.”
“I said what I felt, and people try to control people. But you can never control me. I’m a 31-year-old juvenile delinquent. Nobody can control me.” (After being suspended in February by the NBA for uttering an obscenity during a live television interview.)
“They won’t talk to you because I’m undercover.” (Shaq’s explanation for the failure of
“As a military child I first learned how to deal with different types of people and how to deal with order.”
“Because I grew up with a drill sergeant in my life, I respect order and it really gave me the discipline to be a leader and not a follower. It also helped me stay out of trouble.”
“There was not too much to do as a kid when we arrived in
“I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
“I’ll just have to get it against my favorite team.” (Referring to falling 9 points shy of 20,000 career points. His next game was against the Sacramento Kings.)
“It’s hard being the NBA’s sex symbol, but somebody has to do it.”
“I’m a season kind of guy -- not the preseason but the regular season.”
“They’re going to come to me and they’re going to say numbers for three years and I’m going to use my division and if it sounds good when I hear it, then I’ll take it. But I’m not going to say I’ll take less (than the max) . . . Put it this way. I won’t take a BMW from somebody when I know I can get a Maybach from somewhere else.” (Referring to his potential salary from the Lakers.)
“I’m like tax. You’re going to pay one way or the other.” (Referring to his salary.)
“This is my disguise, but it doesn’t work.” (Referring to a wig with dreadlocks.)
“My first movie. I think I won an Oscar for this.” (Referring to Blue Chips.)
“I’m a very quotatious person.”
“That has nothing to do with basketball. That’s just because I’m sexy.” (Referring to the way that Miami Heat fans have enthusiastically embraced him.)
“Shaquille O’Neal has always been one to speak the truth.”
When asked about the Florida Marlins signing slugger Carlos Delgado, Shaq said, “Who’s that?” Informed that Delgado is a baseball player who signed with the Marlins, O’Neal responded:
“Oh, I welcome him. He can come by my house, you know, where
I live, eat some dinner. I don’t have to share the spotlight. I don’t have any
spotlight. Nobody knows who I am down there. I’m just another pretty Latin face
“When I was young I was on punishment a lot and I used to watch a lot of TV, and I asked myself a question: ‘How come people like Mike? How come they like Magic? How come they like Bird? How come they don’t like the big guys?’ So I just throw a little bit of what they were doing. You smile, you act crazy and silly. And I think people like me because I’m different. I’ve always been a class clown type of guy. It comes natural.”
“Being that I’m a tropical black man I don’t get to see much snow. When I see snow I go crazy. That’s why they call me Sasquatch. There’s no Sasquatch found in the snow so I had to go back to my Sasquatchian roots.” (Referring to starting a snowball fight with teammates at Denver’s airport.)
“I don’t believe that I personally have been changed by the money. The bad thing is people assume you’ve changed because now you have money.”
“You know, I’m very photogenic.”
“Everybody talks about being a role model. But if you look up the word ‘role’ in a dictionary, it describes playing a part. Everything I’m into, it’s real to me. There’s nothing fake about it.”
REPORTER: Why do you think there’s such a mystery about how big you are?
SHAQ: Because I’m a freak of nature. You’ve never seen anyone this big, this sexy, move this way.
After referring to all other humans as earthlings:
REPORTER: What planet are you originally from?
SHAQ: I don’t know the name of the planet. The files were destroyed. Actually, my mother recently told me that I
wasn’t born. I was found on a
train. I have a lot of heritage in
“I’ve been 11, 12 percent body fat my whole career. But when you’ve got a big, sexy, beautiful man that’s up in the 340s, 350s, the way you guys were taught on this planet, you’re going to automatically think it’s fat.”
“I want to go to police academy, I want to actually go out and make a couple of arrests. I want to go undercover.”
“A writer from ESPN magazine once described me as the
world’s largest eleven-year-old. That’s
true. I ride my Sea-Doo jet ski, play
putt-putt golf, go to water parks, and act silly. On the bottom floor of my house in
“Sometimes I feel like the Tom Hanks character in Big.
But my life is not a movie. I
never have to go back to
“I am aware that most people only see me as Shaq…the guy on the court. But there is another side to who I am, Shaquille O’Neal. And Shaquille O’Neal wants to explore every part of life. He wants the opportunity to pursue all of his desires. That includes being a part of the music industry as an MC. Music is and will always be a part of who I am.”
“It’s t’ai chi every time. I’m using your positive energy, and I’m blowing off it. See, most guys can’t push, they got to lean. When they lean, I spin.”
“I don’t get tired. I get beat up. You keep chopping on a tree, you need to give the tree some rest so the chlorophyll will fill back up and the tree gets its energy back.”
“From two to four, I was an angel. I skipped first grade because I was intelligent. Around fourth grade, I started to become the class clown. Fourth grade to age thirteen, I was terrible. Worst child ever. I was bigger than everybody, and kids used to make fun of me, call me names like Shaquilla the Gorilla or Shaqueer. So I hit them because I didn’t like it. I went from being a bully to a medium-level juvenile delinquent. I used to carry a knife. My dad and my uncle Mike would be telling me, “You’re going to get in trouble and go to jail.” The moment that changed my life came when I was about thirteen and this guy ratted me out for throwing something in class. I caught up with him after school and beat him up. When the kid went down, I kicked him. Then he started having an epileptic seizure. A man ran out of a car and put something in the kid’s mouth and got him to stop. If that guy hadn’t come, the kid might have died, and I’d have been done, done, done. I was a different person from that day on.”
“Going from Army base to base as a kid taught me to be a man
of all nations. I’d go to the Jewish people and say, ‘Shalom, brother.’ I go to
the Muslim people and say, ‘Salaam aleikum.’I go to
the Chinese people and say, ‘Nee hao mah,’ which means, ‘How you doin’?’
I go to the Japanese people and say, ‘Konnichiwa.’ I go to
“When I first came in, I partied and had a good time. I used to spend $500,000 on chains that don’t make no sense. Then I started having babies. I don’t do the bull**** no more.”
“I’m a mama’s boy above all.”
“My father made me who I am. He gave me a basketball and told me to play with the ball, sleep with the ball, dream with the ball. Just don’t take it to school. I used it as a pillow, and it never gave me a stiff neck.”
“I put a lot into it, and when I am done playing, I plan on
going undercover and then being the sheriff or chief of police somewhere,
REPORTER: Name 3 words that best describe you.
SHAQ: Enigmatic, funny, and silly.
“I’m like President Bush. You may not like me, you may not respect me, but you voted me in.” (Referring to his selection into the 2007 All-Star Game despite missing most of the season due to injury.)
“If you feed the big dog, he will guard the yard. If you don’t feed him, he’s just going to walk around and get bored, and he ain’t going to do shit. So if I’m getting the ball, I’m going to work. Every time.”
“Once you learn how to do something, you don’t lose it. Unless you die.”
REPORTER: Worth of your wardrobe?
SHAQ: About $2 million. I don’t wear combinations twice. I may wear a jacket more than once.
REPORTER: You are one of the world’s most recognizable people. How do you go shopping?
SHAQ: I’m an outgoing guy. I go to the mall. I go to the movies. I’m a lucky guy happy to have made it. But I’m not like a woman who likes to shop. When I’m in my car, I know I need to go to Sharper Image and get the damn seat massage thing. I wiggle my way there and get the damn seat massage thing. I don’t walk around JC Penney or Macy’s.
“I don’t take anything personal. I just have a certain file in my head, so Earthlings must be careful with what they say.”
“When you’ve got a guy that’s going to look for you, you run. A lot of people think I can’t run, but my thing was I wasn’t going to be running if you’re not going to throw it. I know Nash will throw it.”
“Pluto is not a planet, but I am.”
“I’m sort of like a specialist. I go in, do what I do and every four years, they get tired of me and I have to relocate myself.”
“In junior high in
“I don’t ever want to grow up. I guess I’m like Peter Pan. Grown-ups have problems. I want to stay happy.”
“As my great friend Aristotle said, ‘If you cannot command, you must learn to listen.’ I’m not the hierarchy here. I am a worker bee.”
When asked why he’s still so popular:
“Ask your mother.”
“That’s what I do. I get in and get under people’s skin and all that stuff. But you will remember me — and that’s all that matters.”
"I’ve been the type of person [and] the type of athlete, I don’t like to be given anything. I like to earn."
“I’m a realist. I like to put it in business terms. I ran three different corporations my way and I was successful. But I’m an older guy who is on his way out so they brought me in as a consultant for the new, up-and-coming CEO. I’m here for him.”
“I feel fucking fabulous. I feel good. I’m the old, old bull that has done it. And I’m now with a new show bull. See, when I was with Kobe, it was the medium bull and the young bull. And when I was with Penny, it was the two young bulls.”
REPORTER: You appear to be approachable to fans, showing no reluctance to sign autographs or pose for pictures. Do you think professional athletes should make that an obligation?
SHAQ: They always say that however you are, if you stay that way, good things will happen to you. So I can remember times like scoring 40 against great teams and then walking through the quad at LSU and seeing a million students. I’ve always been a class clown and a people person. Just because I make a hell of a lot more money than most people, that really doesn’t make me better. I’ve always considered myself a lucky guy and humble. I think that’s why the Shaquille O’Neal brand has done so well. Other so-called brands don’t do as well, because some of these guys are very Hollywood, especially some of the young guys that have entered the league. I don’t want to say names, but they just don’t do it right. I’m sure when I came in, Michael Jordan and them were saying the same thing about me.
Regarding his new stint with the Boston Celtics:
“For once in my career, I won't have to hold anybody's hand and they won't have to hold mine. I'm surrounded by veterans. We had a great battle [last Thursday] at HealthPoint. It was something I never had before -- three, four, really great players all in one pickup game.”
Referring to finally graduating from
“It took eight years; it should have taken six or seven. I had some other engagements.”
“I’m the first graduate of LSU to graduate in crayon biology.”
“I thought (finishing school) would be easy, but it was kind of hard. Thank God for the Internet.”
“I feel very secure now. I can get a real job now.”
“From now on, this is ‘Love
“Yes, I am the valedictorian. They didn’t mention it to you yet, but I did get a 4.0.”
“I had to re-teach myself how to study, re-teach myself how to read.”
“I could be anything I want. I could take your job, I could be a lawyer. There’s real life and there’s fairy tale life. This is real life.”
Referring to his MBA from the
“Sports for me has always been, you know, fairy tale life. And this right here is real life. This right here means more.”
“And I want to do it the right way, like everybody else, not just a famous figurehead that gets a job because he is a famous basketball player. I want to really learn the business.”
“Solidifies that I’m a businessman….I could always go and have a conversation with Mr. Gates or Mr. Trump. But now that I have this, I can really have a conversation with them on the same level that they have their conversations.”
“It’s just something to have on my resume [for] when I go back into reality. Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else.”
“They would all say, ‘You’re not like we thought you would
be. You’re not as smart as we thought that you would be.’” (Referring to fellow students from the
“I used my basketball experience working with different egos, to get everybody to work together.” (When describing how his job experience contributed to success in his MBA program.)
“I made a 1,600 minus 800 minus 200 on the SAT, so I’m very intelligent when I speak.”
“If they would have had this Internet stuff when I was coming up, I would have been in Harvard by now.”
“It took three years.
When I was playing for the Lakers, I went to the classroom. When I went
“Tell him Shaq doesn’t respond to juvenile delinquents without a college degree. Tell him to get his degree, and we can talk. In the meantime, he should call me Dr. Shaq because I’m working on my PhD.” (Referring to 17-year-old rookie Andrew Bynum, who compared himself to Shaq…except that he can make free throws.)
“He said something about all the time we were criticized and maligned for not being mature enough to fight through adversity, using all these big words I never use.”
“I even told some reporter, ‘It can’t get no worser.’”
“I read a book a long time ago; it was called The One Minute Manager. It says that when you have people working for you, and they do something wrong, get on them for one minute, and then get back out.”
“Nietzsche was a difficult book to read. Nietzsche was so unique, they thought he was crazy. I guess Phil thinks I’m very unique to a point where I may be crazy.” (Referring to Phil Jackson making him read Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo.)
“Nietzsche was so intelligent and advanced. And that’s how I am. I’m the black, basketball-playing Nietzsche.”
SHAQ QUOTING EINSTEIN:
I’m big on teammates. I’m big on thinking. I’m big on quotes. I get a lot of ideas from them. Once I read about this dude who interviewed Albert Einstein. At the end of the interview, he said, “OK, I want to send you what I’m writing. What’s the address of your laboratory”?
Einstein said, “I don’t know.”
The guy said, “What do you mean you don’t know? You’re a genius.”
Einstein said, “Things you can get access to, you should never memorize.”
When asked, in 2002, if he thinks there has ever been a duo
as powerful as he and
“I can’t answer that question. I didn’t have a TV growing up, and I don’t know how to read.”
“Too much Nintendo.” (In response to his GPA at LSU dropping from 3.0 to 2.0.)
“If you are going to give a message, you should stick by that message.” (On his Ph.D.)
“They are that same group, but I’ve got my own rivalristic problems. Is that a word, rivalristic? I’ve got my own rivalristic problems in the Eastern Conference.” (Referring to the Sacramento Kings, a former rival in the Western Conference.)
“If I keep playing, my name will be inscripted in the NBA bible for many years to come. That’s what it’s all about. That’s so kids 20 or 30 years down the line from now go, `Man, O’Neal had 90,000 points. He played until he was 60. And he was still asking for the maximum at 60.’” -- O’Neal, in May, when talking about his desire for a contract extension.
“He’s a little bit younger, he got a lot of proving to do, but he’s just as lethal. It’s my job to make him lethaler. It’s my job to make him the lethalest, if that’s a word...” (On Dwyane Wade.)
“He awokened a sleeping giant. I know that’s not a word.” (Referring to Malik Allen provoking him.)
Here, as a public service, is a pocket Shaq-tionary to help:
TWIsM. It’s tattooed on his arm, just as it is on many in O’Neal’s personal crew. It stands for, “The World Is Mine.” O’Neal got the idea after watching the movie Scarface. Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, had a globe of the world with the message, “The world is ours.”
Flop-ternity. The “flopping fraternity” of players, he says, who fall down when playing defense against him in hopes of getting an offensive foul. Members include Jason Collins, Vlade Divac and Dennis Rodman.
LSU. His college stands for “
Big. Used frequently in nicknames such as: “The Big Aristotle,” which is what he called himself in 2000 while quoting the philosopher (“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit”); “The Big Deporter,” which he used after knocking several foreign centers out of the playoffs. Also, “The Big IPO,” “Big Daddy,” “The Big Stock Exchange,” “Big Havliceck” (after several made free throws) and, “Big Felon” (after a crucial steal in a game).
Lethalest. What he has called himself. As in, “I’m the lethalest player out there. Is that a word?”
Shaqfari. What he calls hunting trips taken to game preserves in Florida’s wilderness.
Elliuqhas Laeno. His name spelled backwards, it’s his evil twin who is “the person I am not allowed to be because of my status,” he once told New Yorker magazine. “He’s dead, though. I killed him off.”
I.D.G.A.F. This was the nameplate above his Lakers locker. The G-rated translation: “I Dominate Games Always and Forever.”
Rivalristic. As in: “I have my own rivalristic problems in the Eastern Conference. Is that a word?”
S.H.A.M. Stands for “Short Answer Method.” Typically a quick, one-sentence answer used when tired of reporters’ questions, tired of the same questions or just trying to make a getaway. Frequently accompanied by mumbling. Used like, “I started shamming them.”
NBA. The league stands for “Nothing But Actors.
Heatenin. What he first considered
himself after the trade to
My White Father. What he called
Foul Shaving. As discussed in his book, Shaq Attack, this comes from his younger days when an opponent picked up a few quick fouls to get to the bench rather than play against O’Neal.
Flossin’. When you make yourself look good at other people’s expense.
One piece of advice: Don’t go flossin’ by shamming everyone or putting I.D.G.A.F. on your office desk. Some things are reserved for The Big Linguist, who backs everything up with three championship rings.
“In most dictionaries, ‘sham’ means phony or a fraud. In ShaqSpeak, S.H.A.M. stands for Short Answer Method. When I’m uncomfortable around reporters I don’t know, I get tired of someone asking the same question, or I think someone is just being too negative, I resort to the S.H.A.M. method.
“I know this kid was good, but he’s gooder than I thought.” (On Dwyane Wade.)
“When it comes to ridiculization, if you can’t walk in a man’s shoes, you shouldn’t ridicule him. I couldn’t do that job.”
When asked about whether anyone would ever duplicate his style of play:
“I’m unemulatable. I took the files and deleted them, ate ‘em, used ‘em in the bathroom, flushed it, went through the sewage plant and blew the sewage plant up. So there’s no way that my style can be copied. It’s gone, forever. There’s a new big guy style, Dirk Nowitzki style, guys stepping out and shooting jumpers, shooting 3s. So that style will be here for a while, but my style is gone, forever.”
REPORTER: How did you guys turn it up once the playoffs began and what was it during the regular season that kept you from being 5-10 games better than you were?
SHAQ: It happened because we sort of veteran-ly paced ourselves.
REPORTER: Grant Hill told me you have places in your house that can only be accessed with your fingerprint. What’s the thing in your house you’d show if you were trying to impress a stranger?
SHAQ: What Grant said is true. It is one of those smart houses, technology-safe. If I’m trying to impress someone, I take them to either the 30-car garage, the indoor basketball court or the five-room guest house that leads out to a 20-foot pool -- aka, Shaqapulco.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: If you were an AND 1 player, what nickname would you have?
SHAQ: Lemme see…what would it be? Probably, uh…Diesel. Either Diesel or…you know, I don’t know.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER: Come on, man. You’re famous for your nicknames. I thought you’d come up with something better than that.
SHAQ: All right. How ‘bout O’nealiony Montana?
because I’m the biggest thing to hit
ENTERTAINER: Come on, people want to follow you. You gotta make ‘em bow down. Do the
whole can-you-dig-it speech and everything.
You could even run naked on
SHAQ: I need to get a six-pack first. Right now, I’ve only got a 4.892-pack.
“For all my friends in the media who like quotes, mark this quote down. From this day on I’d like to be known as ‘The Big Aristotle’ because Aristotle once said, ‘Excellence is not a singular act; it’s a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.’”
“I want to be known as ‘The Big Shakespeare.’ It was Shakespeare that said, ‘Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.’”
SHAQ ON HIS NICKNAMES:
All this heaviness does not mean that I’m a monk. I’m an unorthodox type of guy, a funny guy—at least I think I’m funny. And one of the things I like to do is come up with nicknames for myself.
Some of my personal favorites:
“The Big Stock Exchange.” I start off at one price. Every now and then I’ll go down, but eventually I’ll go back up.
“The Big IPO.” Put your money on me. Because when I go public, we all gonna make money.”
“The Big Aristotle” was coined the day I won the MVP last year . I stole a quote from that Greek philosopher cat: “Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”
Can’t forget “The Big Antarctica” because I’m so cold.
Or “The Big Havlicek,” which is what I called myself after making a bunch of foul shots one night.
“The Big Felon” for when I made a steal against
And, of course, “The Almighty Conceitedness.” That’s the highest level of arrogance. I made that up, too.
“If I were a painter, you’d be calling me Shaqcasso.”
“They call me the Big Sewer because I have a lot of shit in my game.”
REPORTER: Based on all the injuries, is Dr. Shaq your current name? If not, what is it?
SHAQ: The Big Knick-Knack right now. I got a lot of knick-knack injuries, so I have to fight through those.
“Can you spell it for me?” (After a reporter suggested that Shaq should start calling himself The Big Methuselah.)
“I’m known as The Big Baryshnikov.” (After a hard foul sent him tumbling into a backward somersault before bouncing to his feet.)
REPORTER: You are great at giving yourself nicknames. My favorite was, after you eliminated foreign centers Vlade Divac and Rik Smits and Arvydas Sabonis from the playoffs, you dubbed yourself The Big Deporter. What’s your favorite nickname for yourself?
SHAQ: Wilt Chambern-easy.
“The Big Cactus…because if you come too close, you’re gonna get stuck.”
(Referring to his first new nickname as a
“I am shogun, led by no one. Shaquille O’Neal. Been through all the storms. I’m still here. In the words of Muhammad Ali, ‘I must be the greatest.’ I was left for dead, and they threw me in the desert. Body-slammed me in some cactus. Barbosa, Nash, and Amare came to save me. That’s why I call myself the Big Cactus. They brought me to the medical staff, who released and relieved me from splinteritis. No more splinters in my back. Now, I’m back. Every time I see a cactus, I go crazy….You saved me! You saved the Big Cactus. Yes, you did. If it wasn’t for you, Big Cactus would not be here. 730 days left. The shogun’s reign will be over. There will be no more. I’ve killed them all. Think about it.” (Where amazing happens.)
“The Big Cactus. I will stick you.”
“I like Big Cactus. Why? Because I’m old and because nobody really knows what type of cactus I am. But I will prick your ass if you touch me the wrong way.”
“Anyone can win a slam-dunk contest. The real Superman is dead. He was assassinated by Pat Riley. I’m the Big Cactus now and ready to roll again.” (Referring to Dwight Howard in the slam-dunk contest.)
From Marc Stein of ESPN:
That quote popped into my head when I saw Shaq on Monday wearing a pair of custom-made Superman sneaks on his way out of practice. When I jokingly asked him what he was doing with Dwight’s shoes on, Shaq promptly (and sternly) informed me (after a few unprintables) that Howard still has to “get past the Shaquino” in the playoffs for such a privilege.
If you’re losing track -- not hard when it comes to Shaq and all of his monikers -- “Shaquino” is a reference to what is known among Magic fans as the “Curse of the Shaquino,” which blames O’Neal’s abrupt free-agent defection to the Lakers in the summer of 1996 for Orlando’s subsequent decade-plus of woe.
On his nickname Shaqovich:
“If you go around the league, anybody with the last name ‘vich’ is a great shooter. Radmanovic, Vujacic...all those ‘iches.”
“A friend tweeted me with ‘The Big Freeze.’ I don’t know about that one. I’ve got to go home, play around with the kids and figure something out. I’ll have one.”
Regarding Dwight Howard’s use of the Superman moniker for himself:
“Superman my ass. When I was coming up and there was Pat Ewing and Hakeem (Olajuwon) and I never doubled anybody. You tell me who the real Superman is. Don’t compare me to nobody. I’d rather not me mentioned, I’m offended.” (Borrowing a line from Jay-Z.)
“Don’t let them double team me and make it a him vs. me thing. 18 years straight: Hakeem, (Pat) Ewing, Rik Smits, (Tim) Duncan, (David) Robinson, the best of the best, straight up. I never doubled nobody. Nor have I ever asked for double team.”
“It’s pretty much the same; it’s just that Phil was very weird with his system. This is more of the traditional system.”
“Incense. Books. Just weird.” (When asked how Phil Jackson’s coaching style is different from those of other coaches.)
“Who’s that?” (When asked about his new Miami Heat coach, Stan Van Gundy.)
“He looks like a woman coach sometimes. I guess he’s just
trying to get into certain people’s heads, but it won’t work with me. Like a
woman who coaches and cries all the time. He can’t get in my head. He’s a
crybaby.”-- Laker center Shaquille O’Neal on Supersonic Coach George Karl,
“I ate too many Frosted Flakes. I don’t remember what I said last night.”-- Laker center Shaquille O’Neal, referring to the quote above. (5/98)
“I blame Riley for my broken thumb, not Matt Geiger. That ain’t defense
“I knew Rick Pitino was going to make them play that outbreak, monkey defense. He’s been doing it all his life.”
“He’s the president. I’m the general. Unless I want to get impeached, I got to do what he says.” (Referring to Pat Riley.)
“It’s my job to make him look good. He’s a very good looking man, so it’s my job to keep him looking good.” (On Pat Riley.)
“He’s the Italian version of my father. I don’t know if he’s Italian or not.” (Referring to Pat Riley, knowing that he’s Irish.)
“I would never play for Pat Riley. Part of the reason was because he played me
only twenty-five minutes at my first All-Star Game in
“Pat Riley is the best coach I’ve ever had.” (In 2006.)
“I don’t think anything of Laura Frank. You heard me — Laura
“I think he should just suck it up and show up. I think he should coach through the pain.” (Joking about Phil Jackson missing a game to recover from having a kidney stone removed.)
When asked about Pat Riley’s return to coach the Miami Heat:
“I think Bush came back because Colin Powell was there. Hey, I’m the brigadier general, baby.”
When Brian Hill was re-announced as head coach of the Shaq’s former team, the Orlando Magic (on May 24, 2005):
“It’s good that he’s back. When I buy the team [Magic] in three years, he’ll be working for me.”
REPORTER: True or false: You would have won the title last year with Stan Van Gundy as the coach.
SHAQ: I can’t hear you. Static in the question.
REPORTER: Why is your relationship with Phil Jackson over?
SHAQ: He said some things that were out of line and show how
he truly feels [
“I look forward to making
“I think it would be a boring game if everybody was the same, just like it would be boring if you guys asked the same dumb questions.” (To reporters, referring to the 2005 NBA All-Star Game.)
“First person who says that to my face, I’ll punch you!” (Talking to a group of reporters, who wanted to bring up Shaq’s obesity.)
“Why don’t you bring your face up here and let me punch it? Then you can tell me (if I’m stronger).”
“That was a foul, young lady. You know that was a foul. Don’t ask dumb questions.” - Shaq on Ben Wallace blocking his shot during Game 5.
When asked about retirement and if he was going to ever be a commentator in the booth:
“Man, I don’t wanna do what all the other guys do. I don’t wanna end up in the booth after the games telling you what I think and talking smack about the guys on the floor when they are a lot better than that. I wanna be different. I don’t wanna be known as Commentator Shaq. I wanna be a doctor or something good. I wanna be Dr. Shaq, Officer Shaq, Deputy Shaq.”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, bet you can’t type that.” (In the middle of an answer at a media session—to the stenographer who was trying to take down his every word.)
“Well, Doctor, I don’t have the diagnosis on that. I’ll be sure to do a physical checkup and get back to you.” (When asked about Dwyane Wade’s health.)
(Reporter accosts Shaq as he’s walking, soon after the Heat win the 2006 NBA championship.)
REPORTER: Shaq, can we walk with you, buddy?
REPORTER: Talk about the whole experience, and—
SHAQ: Here’s the experience.
Prior to Game 5 of the 2004 NBA Finals against
Shaq’s response: “That’s sort of a trick question, and I don’t have a trick answer. Next question, please. You’re not going to get me with that question today, buddy...I’m a veteran at this, buddy. Can’t get that with me, buddy. Not today.”
“Y’all reporters like my quotes, don’t you. Yeah, my quotes are Shaqalicious.”
REPORTER: Shaq, is this the quintessential sign of a veteran team when—
SHAQ: I don’t know what “quintessential” means, but if that’s good, then yeah….”Quintessential”…what the hell does that mean? I bet you made an 1800 on the SAT. Smart man, smart man. Spell it!
Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune wrote that O’Neal encouraged teammates not to play defense so that his defensive shortcomings wouldn’t be exposed. O’Neal’s reaction?
“Obviously, Sam is the type of guy that hides behind his pen and pad. I promise you he wouldn’t say that to my face in a dark alley where it’s just me and him and no witnesses.”
“You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. You all should be spanked for this.” (To reporters who lent credence to an out-of-town story suggesting that Shaq may be traded from the Heat.)
“There will be a report coming out, and my name will be on it.” (Joking about the Mitchell Report after “confessing” to using performance-enhancing cereal, such as Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Wheaties.)
“I don’t think he can win in this situation because what he
“I heard Mr. Walton’s comments, and I think Mr. Walton has broken the Big Man Pecking Order Code, Ordinance 225.7, which means his resume isn’t quite good enough to speak on what I’ve done....I look at what Mr. Walton has done, I look at what Mr. Walton has said, and one thing I hate is a hypocrite. So, if I’m faking an injury, his whole injury-playing career is a fake. Here’s a guy who only played one or two seasons injury-free, and now he’s talking about me being injured....Like I said, Mr. Walton has broken the Big Man Ordinance Code, 225.27. No big man under should talk about a big man above. It’s just not right, and that’s just disrespectful. And I earn my respect.” --Shaq’s response to Bill Walton
CRAIG SAGER: What do you plan to do after the All-Star game to get better?
SHAQ: Buy you a new jacket.
CRAIG SAGER: What’s wrong with this one?
SHAQ: That’s horrible. No, you know what that is? That’s horrawful. That’s horrible and awful mixed together. Horrawful.
“I’ve been an athlete that’s sort of in advance; always thinking. After basketball I’d love to have my own radio show, my own TV show.”
“Enunciation, diction, all that stuff. None of that is in my personality.” (Referring to his deficiencies in broadcasting during a course at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.)
“Jim rome, I am happy with my career and the legacy that I have left behind,obviously u r not happy wit yur legacy I 4got u have no legacy”
“Foul me out!” (After
picking up his fifth foul and yelling at referee Scott Wall, whose whistle
stayed silent on the next
“If you take a needle and stick her in the booty and take a needle and stick me in the booty, we’re both going to say ouch.” (Referring to officials’ tendency to not call fouls committed on Shaq but to do so for fouls committed on other players.)
“The NBA is fairy tale and real life mixed together.”
“I thought the referees did an awful job tonight. I felt like they cheated tonight. And you can quote me on that. And if David Stern and them want to fine me, try to control people with money, they can take double and take triple, but you can’t control me with no money. I’ve been taking this same abuse for seven years. So fuck them, I don’t care. Fine me. Period. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
“Keep in mind, I’m not allowed to be tough. I’m tamed.” --O’Neal, named the ninth-toughest athlete in sports by USA Today and claims NBA rules curtail his play.
“This is a tough game. There are times when you’ve got to play hurt, when you’ve got to block out the pain.”
REPORTER: You’re 34 years old. When did you notice that you’ve become one of the elder statesmen in the league?
SHAQ: When I look around and all the guys before me are gone, like Barkley and Jordan and Pippen, Ron Harper, guys like that.
“I got into foul trouble, so I really kind of had to play on egg shells from there on out.”
“When I retire, I’m going after his job. If I don’t make sheriff, I’m going after his job. He’s not that good. You can quote me on that.” (Referring to Stu Jackson, NBA vice president who fined Shaq $5,000 for a flagrant foul.)
“I’m the first player in history that doesn’t want to play defense and still gets in foul trouble.” (Referring to his lack of playing time due to foul problems.)
“A pinch is a pinch. If you pinch my right nipple, I’m going to say, ‘ouch.’ If I pinch your right nipple, you’re going to say ‘ouch.’ A foul is a foul and a flagrant is a flagrant.” (Referring to the discrepancies in referees calling fouls between smaller and larger players.)
“About strip clubs and athletes. The best way I can explain why a lot of players end up there is because it’s one of the safest places a high-profile person can spend time in a boring city.”
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m used to it, I prepare for it. Like I say, at the end of the day, those in charge of their own destiny are going to do what’s right for them and their family.”
“I know that this is sport first and business second, and people have to do what’s right for them.”
“Those guys today don’t like to bang. It’s something you had to be good starting out doing. I started out as a football player. I liked to inflict pain. In basketball, it was the same thing.”
“I think the types of centers you are looking at now are the Colliers and Nowitzkis, the guys that can step out and shoot the shit out of the ball. They can shoot and you can not take that away from them. I have never been a shooter. I have always been a prolific M.F. scorer. You know what M.F. stands for?”
“I think the new ball is terrible. It’s the worst decision some expert, whoever did it, made. It’s terrible. It’s like touching an exotic dancer and then going and touching a plastic blow-up doll. You know, it feels different.” (Referring to the new basketball instituted by the NBA.)
“The NBA’s been around how long? A hundred years? Fifty years? So to change it now, whoever that person is needs his college degree revoked….Whoever did that needs to be fired. It was terrible, a terrible decision. Awful. I might get fined for saying that, but so what?”
“David Stern should get with the mothers of the NBA and let the moms decide what the dress code should be. I asked my mother if I could wear a chain, and she told me yeah. So I do stuff that my parents allow me to do.”
When asked about a potential NBA team in
“If they don’t have a marquee player they’re going to be in
trouble....There’s too much other stuff going on in the nightlife, like Danny Gans, Cirque Du Soleil, the Chippendales. The thing about
“I was really upset. I felt like they tried to limit me, whoever ‘they’ may be. So I just said to myself third quarter I’m going to come out and do what I do.”
“You gotta fight all the karate guys, and once you kill them off, now you gotta get to the ninjas. Once you get through the ninjas, now you gotta get to the showmen. Now me, I’m the showman of big men.”
REPORTER: Isn’t the regular season completely irrelevant?
SHAQ: I won’t say it is irrelevant. It is like chess. You have to position yourself. Just get in a position where you can win the whole thing. I never worry about home court. I’ve been in the league 15 years. I’ve seen every situation more than three or four times. We won championships as the one seed, the two seed and the five seed. You have to win at home and on the road in the playoffs.
“It was colder than a motherfucker out there. And you can quote me on that.” (Referring to playing in the first NBA game outside in over 35 years.)
“Why aren’t the Nets playing in
When asked by David Aldridge what could be told about his thumb injury:
“Tell them it was a foul.”
“There’s two kinds of dirty — dirty and sewer-dirty. Danny Ferry is sewer-dirty and has been ever since he was at Duke.”
“Why?! Why?!! WHY??!!” (Referring to a $35,000 fine for complaining against the referees.)
Shaq’s explanation on why he and referees didn’t see eye to eye:
“You guys make the rules up, so a foul is a foul. It doesn’t matter if a guy is bigger and stronger. It’s not my fault I ate my Frosted Flakes when I was little, and you ate Wheaties.”
Regarding Shaq’s most recent visit to China and the country’s growing interest in the NBA:
“It gets bigger every time you go over. In China, there was Yao Ming stuff everywhere. I'm just fortunate to have a good-looking face to where they recognize me.”
“I can’t really remember the names of the clubs that we went
to.” (On whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to
SHAQ: Some people are so smart that they’re stupid….Let me tell you something: In this world, right now, there’s one guy who truly believes two plus two is five.
SHAQ: I don’t know his name.
“Tell Yao Ming, ‘ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’” (Accompanied with approximated kung fu moves.)
“I said it jokingly, so this guy was just trying to stir something up that’s not there. He’s just somebody who doesn’t have a sense of humor, like I do.” (Referring to Fox Sports Radio’s Morning Extravaganza host Tony Bruno.)
“You know what’s crazy about
“Yeah, have fun over there. And if you see any of my Irish cousins, tell ‘em I said, ‘Shiver me timbers,’ or something like that.”
“TV corrupts the mind. I never watch TV.”
“They asked me when I was out there, ‘Why do you want to be traded?’ I said me staying here is like divorcing my wife and marrying someone who looks like me. That’s backwards, man.”
After O’Neal got his shot blocked by Dan Gadzuric, the big center tumbled to the baseline floor and landed next to the legs of a small child midway through the first quarter. Noticing a camera was on him, O’Neal then took a sip of a soda he knocked over.
“The two top teams with nice weather and nice people were
SHAQ: I knew it wasn’t going to go in.
REPORTER: How did you know that it wasn’t going in?
SHAQ: It’s called Shaq O’Neal fate.
“I think it was 89.2% cheers and 11.8% boos, but I’m used to that.”
“I was kind of hoping it was Anna Kournikova.” -- O’Neal, after tumbling into the stands and hugging a fan during a Feb. 10 visit to AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Some things you just can’t question. Like you can’t question why two plus two is four. So don’t question it, don’t try to look it up. I don’t know who made it. All I know is it was put in my head that two plus two is four. So certain things happen. Why does it rain? Why am I sexy? I don’t know.” -- O’Neal, when asked about the Lakers’ spate of injuries in the middle of last season.
“You got Photoshop on there?” --Shaq, asking a stranger working on a computer about Photoshop so that he can learn how to transfer a picture of his face onto the body of an old man, just as a goof e-mail to some friends.
“Over on the causeway with all the foo-foo people” (Referring to his new home in the
“Being married, I don’t want interplay or foreplay with another man. You say, ‘Hi, how you doing?’ and you keep moving.”
“Get your tickets now.
Buy cable now. Get your jerseys now. Pull your boats up to the docking
stations now. Bring your Sea-Doos now. If you can’t
afford a Sea-Doo, get a raft.” (Shaq’s
“It’s not how you start the date; it’s how you finish the date. A lot of people can bring flowers, but if you don’t close the deal on the date, then the date wasn’t much of a date, now, was it?”
“My favorite cereal is Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger is grrrrrrreat!”
“The problem with kids these days is they don’t have enough
fun stuff to do. When I was stationed with my family in
“I am playing on ten toes again.” (Referring to the healing of his foot.)
“I told my wife when I was rolling up, I felt like the president.” (Referring to his official arrival to the Miami Heat’s Arena, after which he hummed “Hail to the Chief.”)
“Phantom Rolls-Royce, a white one.” (Shaq’s wedding gift for Donald Trump and Melania Knauss.)
“Believe it or not, I have always wanted to get a house down
in this area on the water, but I have never really had the chance. Now I have a
chance to get a house on the water and walk naked on the beach. Remember if you
take any pictures, I get 20 percent.”
(Referring to his new house in
“Finally, I have someone that’s like me. My other two pupils were the opposite sides of the moon. But this guy is on the same side of the moon, is on the same planet that I’m on.” (On Dwayne Wade.)
“I was walking with my big fur coat and they pulled their guns out on me because they thought I was Sasquatch, so I told them if they give me a couple of patches I won’t press charges.”
“Write this: Since my boy is the coach, I’m going to try out for the Dolphins next year. Tight end.” (Referring to the newly hired Dolphins coach Nick Saban.)
“It means I don’t have to charter that big jet for the
family.” (When asked what it meant to
have the All-Star game in
“I just want everyone to know I’m suing Ruben Studdard. He had his hand on my ass and he wouldn’t let go.” (Referring to falling onto Ruben Studdard after a dunk in the 2004 All-Star game.)
“He’s got a ring, so I’m taking home the trophy.” (Referring to the co-MVP honors for both Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan in the 2000 All-Star game.)
“It’s good to go back home and sleep in my own bed and eat my own food -- and see all of my wives.”
“Don’t ever try that again.” (To Dwyane Wade, referring to Wade’s unsuccessful attempt to dunk on Shaq during practice.)
“Don’t Fake the Funk on a Nasty Dunk.”
“It’s big, you can take it anywhere, make people look at you. And it prevents muggers. Kick them right in the ass with that Shaq shoe phone. There’s an addition at the top where you can pull out the strings and make it a Shaq-shoe handbag and phone all-in-one.” (Referring to his size-22 red and white shoe phone, which has an actual working telephone mechanism built into the speaker and an antenna that pops out near the toes.)
“He’s like a little version of me.” (On Allen Iverson.)
“As a man, you got to know how to take it, so I just took it.”
“Do we play
“We want Zo!” (Mimicking a chant fans used several times in the fourth quarter of Alonzo Mourning’s first Miami Heat home game in nearly 3 years.)
“They are that same group, but I’ve got my own rivalristic problems. Is that a word, rivalristic? I’ve got my own rivalristic problems in the Eastern Conference.” (Referring to the Sacramento Kings, a former rival in the Western Conference.)
“I was working the streets (in
“The difference between those three is in The Godfather trilogy. One is Alfredo, who’s never ready for me to
hand it over to him. One is Sonny, who will do whatever it takes to be the man.
And one is Michael, who, if you watch the trilogy, the Godfather hands it over
to Michael. So I have no problem handing it to Dwyane.” (Referring to Penny Hardaway,
“I had an awful first quarter, but I picked it up. To all you single guys out there, it’s not how you start the date; it’s how you finish the date.”
Shaquille O’Neal also missed Monday’s practice, which was
held about 20 miles from his house. Phil Jackson joked about calling off the
ambulances. O’Neal joked about overturned chicken trucks, “buck-bucks
everywhere,” and maybe was fined. Then he started against
“I’m playing like Eric Dampier.” (Referring to struggling with a thigh injury.)
“Dampier is soft. Quote it, underline it, tape it and send it to him.”
“Flash, take the game off. I’ll go out and do the work.” (Shaq to Dwayne Wade, who got injured in the second quarter. With Wade out of the game, Shaq decided to score 40 points that night.)
ESPN: What do you think of the NBA Finals match-up this time around?
SHAQ: I think it’s boring. It would have been better if we were there. The ratings would have been better. The games would have been better. There would have been more entertainers at the game. It would have been fun. I think it’s boring, but I don’t know, who am I? I didn’t make it, so I don’t have room to talk. But I’ll be back; I’ll be there.
“We’re better-looking, too.” (Referring to the improvements of the latest Miami Heat team.)
“They actually tell me to shut up when I ask.” (Referring to the doctors who decide Shaq’s return after his ankle injury.)
“He is an old glove, but he looked like the old Glove.” (Referring to a superb performance by Gary Payton.)
After a Lakers’ victory over the Celtics in 2001, O’Neal
“Take this down. My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.”
“I think it’s a great city. I think it’s a fabulous city.
But in my young juvenile days, I was an idiot, and I bought 30 cars. And I need
to drive those cars, and
REPORTER: Shaq, do you know the words to the Yao Ming song?
SHAQ: Yao Ming, Yao Ming, Yao Ming…Yao Ming, Yao Ming, Yao Ming. Yeah, it’s just Yao Ming, ain’t it?
“They shot the ball
well early. What comes out of the
microwave hot doesn’t always stay hot. I know, because I eat bagels in the
morning.” (Referring to the Heat-Celtics
game, in which
“It was a weird game. There was ugly shooting and a lot of turnovers and mistakes, and we were just fortunate to get the win. I should have done better, but it was just a very ugly and weird game….I knew the game was going to be an ugly game when I saw those three guys [the officials] at the scorer’s table. Ugly people call ugly games.”
“If you’re having problems with your fathers, don’t have problems with your fathers. Fathers should be your best friends.”
“I think he got an incidental elbow in the face, messed up his pretty red lips a little bit. But other than that he’ll be fine.” (Referring to Vince Carter’s inadvertent elbow to Wade’s jaw, bloodying his mouth and sending him to the locker room.)
“I got it, I dove on the floor, he dove on my head and I hit my teeth on the ground. It was just one of my police reactions to get that criminal off me.” (Referring to stripping the ball from Vince Carter and diving to the floor to recover it.)
“Now we can sit back, curse each other out a little, and turn it on.”
“It’s a different role for me, playing with the great Dwyane Wade.”
“One lucky shot deserves another.”
“Damp is soft. Quote it, write it, tape it and send it to him. I tell you, there’s nothing there.”
“My impression was my daughters tackle me harder when I come home.....It actually felt pretty good to get hit like that. Thank you, Jerry, I appreciate it.” (On a flagrant foul by Jerry Stackhouse.)
“Now, the mistakes that I made with my other two sons, Penny
“I am a
“Can you diiiigggg it!”
“I don’t believe in pressure. Pressure is when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.”
“We want you all to be in shape and look as good as me.
Because I will be walking naked on the beach.” (On his fitness centers in
“You’re messing up my highlights.” (To James Posey, after sending him a snazzy no-look pass in the closing minutes of Game 4 of the NBA Finals.)
REPORTER: If you guys win the next game, would you consider retirement?
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL: Not really. I mean, I have four years left…Then I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll probably start dressing like him (Dwyane Wade).
“Opinions are like belly buttons; everybody has one. I never knock a man for his opinion.”
“I tried to hit on Tori Spelling once, but she wasn’t havin’ any of it. I asked for her phone number, and she didn’t give it to me. She said, ‘Give me yours.’ Oh, well. Don’t hurt to try.”
“I endorse only products I actually use. Like Wheaties keeps offering me money, but I don’t eat Wheaties, so I can’t do it. Now, if Rice Krispies or Frosted Flakes offered me a deal, I’d take it right away. Apple Jacks, I’d be on the box in a heartbeat. Apple Shaqs. Yeah.”
“White Chocolate [Jason Williams] is my favorite point guard. I’d rather watch him than even Gary Payton and Jason Kidd, although those two are the best in the game. Why? Because the game is about winning, but it’s also about excitement….Imagine if I had White Chocolate on my team. We’d have people spitting up nachos. I would be throwing down the nastiest dunks of all time. We would have the greatest highlights in NBA history.” (In 2001.)
“Now, if you’re an NBA fan, you know what Vince Carter did. I came up with a line about him: ‘Half-man, half-amazing.’”
“Like I’ve always said, what’s hot must go cold.”
“That dude scored 8 points in the last 19 seconds, pulled out a miracle win at the Garden. He made me choke on a chicken bone that day. I’m serious.”
“I told Leonard [Shaq’s agent], in the immortal words of Tom
“Afterwards I said Chris Webber was going to leave as a free
“Who? Erica Dampier?” (Responding to a question about Erick Dampier.)
“He could be dominant -- if he played in the WNBA.” (Referring to Erick Dampier.)
“I’m Shaquille O’Neal, and I love
“The other day, two of my children were fighting. I made them hold hands, and I tied them together with a sock. I said, ‘Now, I want you to go upstairs and come back, and when you do, you’re going to say ‘I love you’ to each other.’ When they came back, they were laughing.”
“I came out of practice one day, and this lady was upset.
What’s wrong? ‘My son won’t wear nothing but your shoes, and I can’t afford
them ‘cause they cost a hundred dollars.’ I go into my pocket. Here. ‘I don’t
want your money,’ she said. ‘Why don’t some of you athletes put out shoes that
people can afford?’ I’m thinking about that on my way home, remembering the
time I asked my father for a pair of
“When you’re righteous, you don’t have to tell people that you’re righteous.”
“Respect is listening.”
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t think
“The difference between sex and love? I would say sex is an art form. Love is the caring for the person that you’re performing the art with. How’s that?”
“When I get old, I’m going to the old folks’ home. I don’t want to be one of those guys who’s hanging around the house bothering the kids. But not just any old folks’ home. I want the whole top floor. TV on one side, video games on the other. Thirty thousand square feet should do the trick.”
On his big toe that has ailed him in recent years:
“Would you like to kiss it? They took everything out. I don’t know what they took out, but I have no pain at all. My feet are fine. Everything is fine, including my butt. Would you like to see it?”
“The G-walk.” (Referring to his celebration dance after a great play. G stands for good-looking.)
“This is a classic Shaquille O’Neal quote - Write it down, underline it or memorize it. When you put a bunch of old lions with young lions, the old lion can do two things: run away and be old or be young like the young lions. I hope that makes sense.”
“Against (Shawn) Bradley, every time I’m trying to dunk, dunk, dunk.”
“How’s the weather up there? I always wanted to say that.” (On a Static Shock episode.)
“By distributing my albums through BurnLounge, it not only gives me a new outlet to reach my fans, but also gives them the opportunity to become digital-music promoters themselves by legally sharing music with their friends,” said Shaquille O’Neal via a press release. “I have always had a passion for music and I’m excited to work with a company that shares the same passion.”
“It wasn’t me.” (Playfully responding to questions about partaking in a police raid as a reserve sheriff’s deputy.)
“How did Mike Bibby get on the
team? Any Cub Scout with Boy Scouts can do Boy Scoutish
things. When Bibby was in the Cub Scouts, he was a
Cub Scout. When he was with
“The Spurs are a great WNBA team.”
“Get away from my house. What do you want?”
“Being here feels like I’m out of prison. This is the right place, the right time, the right team.”
“One time, I put up 40, 50 points dunking on Shawn Bradley. After the game, he brought his family over. He was like, ‘This is my wife. She wants to take a picture.’ I’m like, ‘Nice to meet you.’ I smile into the camera, take the picture, and then feel guilty about dunking on him so many times.”
“We have strict orders: If we talk about it we get fined $50,000.” (Referring to discussing trade rumors regarding Allen Iverson.)
“I have orders not to come back until I’m a thousand percent.”
Having ripped the decision for the initial switch, O’Neal said, “Us changing would have been like somebody saying to all the businessmen, “OK, when you have a business meeting, we don’t want you to wear suits anymore. We want you to wear children’s pajamas. So imagine Donald Trump, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates wearing pajamas.” (Referring to changing the new basketball.)
ESPN REPORTER: How much longer do you think you want to play?
SHAQ: I’m contracted to play to ‘08-09, and after that, I’ll probably be looking to come up there and take your job.
REPORTER: Favorite movie all-time besides Kazaam?
SHAQ: Kazaam 2. Hasn’t been shot yet.
REPORTER: Can we look for that coming to a theater near us?
SHAQ: Yes, it’ll be out in 2038.
REPORTER: I look forward to the release of Kazaam 2.
SHAQ: Yes, 2039. I just talked to the producer. I thought it was ‘38…2039.
When asked about what Shaq said to McGrady after kissing him after McGrady’s dunk in the 2007 All-Star Game:
“That was a tribute to the Dick Bavetta-Charles Barkley kiss…just to tell him I love him and that he’s a good friend of mine.”
“I was gonna say I was gonna go to a club with some gentlemans. Get it? Club…with some gentlemans?”
“We’re the most experienced team in the league. I think we got a little too happy, running our mouths, jumping up and down, looking at the Heat dancers and all of that stuff. We had to step it up and show them what we’re all about.”
ESPN: So have you decided how much longer you’re going to play?
SHAQ: Until my contract’s up. Then I’ll see what’s next for me.
ESPN: For sure? You’re definitely going to play three more years after this one?
SHAQ: How many years do I have left [on the contract]? Two or three?
(Editor’s note: O’Neal has three more seasons left, each at $20 million, which would take him to age 38).
REPORTER: Last time you pinched yourself when a check arrived at your house and said to yourself or your wife, “I can’t believe they pay me X to do Y”?
SHAQ: Never. Last time I looked at a check, I said to myself, “Who the hell is FICA? And when I meet him, I’m going to punch him in the face. Oh my God, FICA is killing me.”
REPORTER: Most embarrassed or flattered you’ve been about the behavior of an A-list celebrity who was shocked to be around you?
SHAQ: One time Michael Jackson was looking at my house in
REPORTER: Most annoying thing in the world?
SHAQ: “No common sense.”
REPORTER: Give me one word for each of the following:
Dwyane Wade – “Wow.”
Pat Riley – “Rooooooaaaaaaaar.”
Mark Cuban – “Secondplace.”
“My prognostical prognosis, my assumption, I’ll say about three weeks.” (Referring to Dwyane Wade’s return to the lineup.)
A few quotes from Shaq’s introductory press conference with the Phoenix Suns:
“I’m very upset. You just don’t really want to get me upset. When I’m upset, I’m known to do certain things -- like win championships.”
“I look forward to getting my next $200 million for 2 years extension.”
“I’m not concerned with any other teams. I’m the assistant vice general manager of this team.”
“I know for a fact we have the right pieces here...because being the assistant vice chair general manager, I know what I’m looking at.”
“Start selling the t-shirts now. All the marketing people, I’m giving you this
one for free: ‘The Sun will rise in
“Steve told me no rap and no movies. Gotta focus on basketball.” (Referring to Arizona’s rising hip hop scene.)
REPORTER: There’s been a lot of talk the last 3 days about gas in the tank. What does the gauge read for you gas-wise?
SHAQ: Gas in the tank?
REPORTER: Yeah, how much gas do you have?
SHAQ: How much gas do I have?
REPORTER: How much gas do you have in the tank?
SHAQ: I haven’t went to the gas station yet....I don’t even have a car out here yet. He’s talking about gas....I have a lot left....I have a lot of gas.
REPORTER: Has anyone told you that purple looks good on you?
SHAQ: Yes. I already knew that, young lady, but thank you.
REPORTER: Has this reinvigorated you?
SHAQ: Reinvigorated? Spell that.
“I’m going to be looking to get out like Randy Moss and
Terrell Owens.” (Referring to his
initial game with the
“They say old people always come to
“No one was there.
Some teammates, huh? I guess they
didn’t want to get their lip busted like the gentleman I busted (Sunday). Sorry
for that sir.” (Referring to an
acrobatic dive into the Suns bench, an incident that earned him the nickname
The Big Moses by Suns broadcaster Tom Leander as players and coaches parted the
After getting wrapped up under the Phoenix basket by Frye and James Jones, O’Neal swung his arms wildly as if he was going to retaliate—but suddenly stopped and instead walked over to Blazers owner Paul Allen’s seat and shook the Microsoft cofounder’s hand:
“That’s my guy. I was just trying to get some stock.”
“He can play. He can shoot. He can dribble. He can pass. He’s a great player. Period. No question about it. And if anyone thinks Dirk is not a great player, I’ll punch them in their face.”
REPORTER: You seen the movie Borat?
SHAQ: Yeah, he’s a funny guy.
“Somebody out there was trying to use my language and trying to speak for me. Rather than have that happen, I thought I’d do it myself. It’s a fun thing. It’s a way for fans to connect.” (Referring to an Internet impostor using his identity on Twitter.com.)
“I just want to say, ‘Nice job,’ but now let the professional take over. There can only be one me. Uno más me.”
“If he were on fire, he couldn’t act as if he were burning. He can’t out-act me on the big screen.” (Referring to Dennis Rodman.)
“Alvin’s the coach. We must be the Clippers. And I must be Olowokandi. Nooooo!”
“If he wants to get that next contract, he’s going to have to go to the New York Athletic Club three times a day and just ride the bike.” (Referring to Eddy Curry.)
REPORTER: In regards to Valentine’s Day, what’s the best way to propose?
SHAQ: I don’t know. I didn’t have to propose. My wife proposed to me.
Referring to his selection into the 2009 All-Star Game:
“It feels good. It’s not bad for somebody who can’t shoot.”
Referring to Alex Rodriguez and his steroids scandal:
“He’s an honest man. He admitted it, so hopefully people will forgive him. But I really can’t elaborate on something I know nothing about….That’s not our thing in the NBA. Every other sport has drug testing and all that. But A-Rod is still a good guy and an honest man so hopefully he will be forgiven.”
After “sealing off” his locker area with yellow crime tape and a toy police cruiser, Shaq was asked, 12 inches away, what the yellow tape was for. Shaq evidently applied the tape himself, but the Big Crime Fighter wasn’t willing to divulge the story behind it.
“What yellow tape?” he said, standing about 12 inches from the yellow tape at his back, which someone pointed out. “I’m color blind; I don’t see any of that.”
After hearing that Stan Van Gundy complained about Shaq flopping on a play, Shaq clearly was not amused:
“I heard his comment. Flopping to me is doing it more than one time, and I realized when I tried to take the charge, as I went down, I realized that that play reminded me of his whole coaching career. And one thing I really despise is a frontrunner, so I know for a fact that he’s a master of panic, and when it gets time for his team to go in the postseason and do certain things, he will let them down because of his panic. I’ve been there before, I’ve played for him.”
“Flopping is playing like that your whole career. I was trying to take the charge, trying to get a call. It probably was a flop, but flopping is the wrong use of words. Flopping would describe his coaching. I’m not going to just sit abound and let nobodies take shots at me, and he is a nobody to me. And if he thinks he can get in a little press conference and take shots at me like I’m not going to [give] something back, he’s got another thing coming.”
“I said I flopped, but flopping is falling and crying and complaining to the ref. I tried to take a charge. The rules say when a guy comes into your chest and you fall, that’s an offensive foul, and that’s all I tried to do. I fell, didn’t complain, he made a great move, spun and dunked it, but flopping is the wrong choice of words. So that’s all I’ve got to say about that, but again, I despise frontrunners, I despise them. And that’s what he is to me.”
“It was a cheap shot. They won the game, move on. My thing is, I don’t ask for a lot, but I demand my respect, especially from a guy like that.”
“Now I see why everybody who plays for him doesn’t like him.”
“It’s over now. He said what he had to say, I said what I had to say. Don’t play with me. Seriously, don’t play with me.”
When asked how the
“Everything is done out of respect, whether it’s a cheer or a boo.”
“I’m not going to go home and drink rat urine.”
After Chris Bosh accused Shaq of getting away with three-second violations in the lane:
“That’s strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men….I’m going to do the same thing (in the next game) I did before — make him quit.”
“Just got dat underwater ipod adaption device jammy so I can hear music unda water, I b aqua jammin, Waaaa Waaa Shaq-mu The quilla.” (On his The_Real_Shaq Twitter site.)
“My motto is very simple. Win a Ring for the King.” (After Shaq was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.)
“It’s LeBron’s team. He’s the captain. This is the time in my career where I can fit in. I’m now in the security business. My job is to protect the King, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
“I would love an extension, who wouldn’t? If they offer me a $35 million-a-year extension, I’ll sign it right now. I won’t even read the contract. I’m just here to take care of business and I know can help give the city what it’s looking for.”
“I’m pretty much able to play any style. I’m not here to demand 40 or 50 shots. But I would like 30.”
“My sons love LeBron more than they love me. I’m just a little jealous about it.”
"It’s his show and I’m just trying to make him look good. If we were the same age there might be a little tension, but I’m on my way out….I am here to serve your every need, King James.”
“On paper, I think this is the best team I’ve been on.”
“I came here with the perfect chemist’s perception. The formula they had was perfect and any added ingredient could make it go bad or worse.”
When asked if he hosted a Super Bowl party:
“Don’t even have a TV.”
[On the Mike Wise Show, as told by Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog:]
So last week on The Mike Wise Show, Shaquille O’Neal posed one of the timeless questions of our era: If I show up, unannounced, at the White House, could I get in?
Turns out this was no idle speculation. It was an actual bet, between Shaq and one of his handlers, with the loser owing the winner 1,000 push-ups.
“Hey Mike, question. Your show is based in D.C., right? All right, check this out, I got on a nice suit, I’m in D.C. paying a visit, I jump out of a cab in front of the White House, I don’t use none of my political/law enforcement connections. If I go to the gate and say, ‘Hey, I’m in town, I would like to see the President,’ do I get in, or do I not get in? Give me your answer.”
“The rule was I couldn’t use any of my political connections. Couldn’t show a badge. I couldn’t call anybody, because I’ve got a couple of best friends that work for the Secret Service. So that was the rule. They took my phone away, I jumped in a cab, went up there, and the guy wouldn’t let me in.”
Just a straight-up no, then?
"I went to the gate. They were nice. They said, ‘Shaq, we can’t do it.’ I said, ‘I understand.’ Understood."
And he didn’t try to argue his way in?
"Never that. Never that. No way."
(This was, of course, a slightly different tone than on his Twitter feed, where he responded to rejection with this: “The white house wouldn’t let me in, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”)
On whether he boasts a favorite finishing wrestling move:
"Yeah, The Claw. You grab somebody in the head and make them cry. Want me to show you?" (Yes, he then grabbed the questioner’s skull with his hand.)
On what happens if he Claws someone:
"Now? I’ll probably get locked up and you guys would probably write a bad article about me, TMZ will be looking for me."
Regarding his Size Does Matter exhibition at Glenn Fuhrman’s Flag Art Foundation in Manhattan:
“New York is the art capital, so I’m pleased to be starting at the top. It was a little harder than I thought it would be. When you think about what each of the artists put into their work, what they are expressing and want to share with the world, you feel bad about having to narrow it down.’’
“As a curator, I have a responsibility to the artists, who are my ‘teammates.’ We all have to make each other look good -- no different than what I do on the court.”
From New York Magazine:
Reporter: How did you make your choices?
Shaq: Art is a process of delivering or arranging elements that appeal to the emotions of a person looking at it. It’s what you feel. I picked those things because they were beautiful. The thing about size—if it’s big or small you have to look at it. Because I’m so big you have to look at me. I think of myself as a monument. But sometimes, I like to feel small.
Reporter: Do you ever get time to visit museums?
Shaq: I used to go a lot with my kids. Donald Trump is a great friend, and he has four or five Picassos on his plane. And that’s where I would look at them. One time, I was at a museum and tried touching a Picasso. You break it, you buy it, they said. I was told it would cost $2 million.
Reporter: Have you ever tried painting?
Shaq: No, but I’ve met a lot of artists who wanted to paint me. LeRoy Neiman was one. He did it from a photograph. He made 20,000 copies, and we sold them all. Now I’m working with the greatest artist in the world, Peter Max.
Reporter: Do you buy art?
Shaq: I have six kids, and if they ripped something, I’d be devastated. Maybe when they grow up, I’ll buy. I’d like Ron Mueck [whose Untitled: Big Man appears in the show] to do a sculpture of me. I would like to make it twenty feet tall and put it in the middle of a residential neighborhood—make it two stories high and in the head I’d have my office.
Reporter: You like people looking at you.
Shaq: Yeah. When I go to New York I like to stand in the street and see what happens. When you look at a painting and try to figure it out—you look at me [the same way]. Everything in the world is art.
Reporter: Including basketball?
Shaq: To me, it’s ballet, hip-hop, and kung fu. The ballet is grace, the hip-hop is cool, and the kung fu is kill the opponent.
After seeing this Youtube video of Stephon Marbury:
“You know what? I’m considered to be a master of marketing and like getting hits on the internet and like doing crazy outlandish things. But I looked at all my marketing manuals, and I’ve never seen that technique before. The eating-the-vaseline technique is a new technique.”
“Wait, I am Kazaam, and I know I don’t see Gary (Payton) in a white suit.”
Referring to opposing center Joel Przybilla:
“He said I threw the ball at him and I said, ‘Yeah. That’s what I did. So what? Do something about it.’ I’m not much of a talker.”
“If he wouldn’t have flopped and been on the floor, he wouldn’t have been down there."
After reportedly meeting with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department:
"I don’t know what you’re talking about. Undercover officers aren’t allowed to talk about what’s going on."
When asked if he would stand out as an undercover officer:
"No. You’d never see me.”
When asked to comment after joining his first yoga class:
“I’m the worst yoga student in the history of yoga.”
At the 2010 All-Star Game in Dallas:
Shaq: I’d like to you ask you a question.
Shaq: Will you be my valentine? (Closes eyes and puckers up.)
Shakira: Too tall. (Walks away.)
“The first lady is talkin about childhood obesity on cnn, not only is she a great speaker, she is a gorgeous woman, what a speech, thank you.”
Oprah’s first Twitter comment: “HI TWITTERS. THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21ST CENTURY.”
Shaq’s Twitter response: “@oprah ur caps r on, btw”
“It comes. See, the reason why Shaq O’Neal never responded is it’s not important enough. ‘Cause you know and I know, if a crime was committed, that’d be the story. No crime was committed. Ever…It’s all marketing. All marketing for me. It keeps my name out there. I like it.” (Referring to Basketball Wives.)
“I love it. Now that I’m older, I need to chill and relax, and this city does that for me. Every day after practice, I’m at my house — I’m sitting and I’m getting rest. Shit, when I was in Miami and L. A., I was making up shit to do, go here, go there, party — but in this city, I can just chill out and it’s like a nice calmness. I live out in Richfield in the woods with fucking deer and birds. It’s nice and quiet. It’s peaceful, and I think it’s good for me right now.”
REPORTER: When Davis grabbed your thumb after it was hurt
earlier in the year, did that bother you at all? Was that a dirty play?
SHAQ: Nothing bothers me.
REPORTER: Was it dirty?
SHAQ: I don’t think so. I don’t know. Just glad I got my thumbs back. You know, for six weeks, I couldn’t even wipe my furniture.
SI.com: Big Baby starred in a hit YouTube video where he did the Dougie. Have you seen it?
O'Neal: Yeah. You know what's funny about that? Regular people know it as the Dougie. The people who watch sports think it's the John Wall Dance. I have no idea who Dougie is, but hopefully he's getting paid because if not, he's the worst businessman ever. If Antonie Dodson can get paid, then Dougie should be getting paid. (The Dougie is named after rapper Doug E. Fresh.)
“Actually, you know, I have a whole new respect for conductors….I went through a little rehearsal today, and my arms are shot right now.” (Referring to his performance as a conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra.)
REPORTER: Can you comment on what you think it's going to be like here Thursday? (LeBron’s first game against the Cavaliers.)
SHAQ: I'll be watching. I just got that big 100-inch. The 100-inch HD Sony joint. Yeah, that thang. Nice.
“I will be still for the hour...come down and sit on the bench with me and take a picture. No conversations, no nothing.”
“I’m 7-1, 345 (pounds). And I eat a lot of cereal. Frosted Flakes”
On his spelling skills and challenge against the national champion at the 2010 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee:
“I've got my Bachelor's degree and my Masters degree. If you don't believe me, kitten, K-I-T-T-E-N. Do you accept my challenge?”