Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA legend and former player, delivered an emotional tribute to his late stepfather on Tuesday night’s episode of TNT’s Inside The NBA.
Shaquille O’Neal Delivers Emotional Tribute to His Stepfather. Shaquille O’Neal, the retired NBA player and current ESPN analyst, delivered an emotional tribute to his stepfather during a recent episode of Inside the NBA.
Shaquille O’Neal is regarded as one of the most formidable big players in NBA history, yet he nearly never considered pursuing a professional basketball career. Shaq, on the other hand, fell in love with the game thanks to his stepfather and vowed to follow in the footsteps of his heroes.
During the NBA’s 75th anniversary team’s celebration during All-Star Weekend, Shaq got to spend time with those very heroes, and he offered a lovely homage to those players and his stepfather in an emotional address on TNT.
When it comes to the NBA’s 75th anniversary squad, Shaquille O’Neal becomes emotional.
Although O’Neal is an NBA icon in his own right, he has a deep respect for those who came before him. When the NBA recognized its 75th anniversary squad on Sunday, the larger-than-life personality got to spend time with some of them, and he couldn’t control his joy.
“I don’t get emotional,” Shaq stated on TNT prior of the All-Star Game, “but it was a really emotional time for me because all the players who are better than me, I can’t believe I’m sitting next to,” he added. “Even when I compare myself to Hakeem [Olajuwon], I’m not as good.” I wasn’t even close to Chief [Robert Parish’s] abilities. I wasn’t even close to Bob McAdoo’s level of performance. But those who say, ‘Hey, Shaquille O’Neal, you’re awesome,’ I didn’t accomplish it alone.”
O’Neal went on to thank several of his former teammates for assisting him in his journey, but there were a few notable names who were absent from the celebration on Sunday.
“What truly pained me about today is that my father, my sister, and my main hero Kobe Bryant couldn’t be there,” he remarked.
Shaq pays a touching homage to his stepfather.
Kevin | Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports Shaquille O’Neal speaks during the 2019 NBA Awards
Shaq had to thank his stepfather, Sergeant Phillip Arthur Harrison, for introducing him to the game and making his Hall of Fame career possible before thanking all of the NBA luminaries and his friends who pushed him to be great.
“He’s the man who promised me I’d be here one day,” O’Neal remarked. “I was a high-level, medium-level juvenile delinquent, and I was told I’d never make it. He persuaded me to work hard in school. Doing well in school was all Cs for me. Dr. J goes baseline, throws it down, and the audience goes berserk. I earn all Cs, he brings me to Madison Square Garden, and Dr. J goes baseline, throws it down, and the crowd goes crazy. ‘Sir, this is what I want to be when I grow up,’ I say to him. ‘If you listen to me, I’ll make you one of the most dominating large guys ever,’ he said.
O’Neal has already recounted how he fell in love with basketball after seeing Julius Erving play, but this time seemed different.
A lovely reminder that our heroes are also people.
In our adoration for professional athletes, we often forget that they are just like us. Our heroes previously looked up to other legends and dreamt of becoming them one day, despite the fact that it may not seem so.
Shaq’s tear-jerking statement on Sunday is a prime example of this. He’s one of the finest NBA players of all time by any criterion, and talking to Erving, Olajuwon, and others who inspired his career still gives him chills.
Allow yourself a few minutes to listen to O’Neal’s remarks, and have Kleenex handy.
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