Shaquille O’Neal Enters the Hall of Fame With Brutal Humor & Amazing Class (Video)
In addition to being one of the most dominant big men to play the game, and undeniably its most accomplished rapper, Shaquille O’Neal is also one of the most entertaining people to ever play in the NBA. From his incomparable nicknames–Shaqtus and the Big Aristotle, to name a few–to his irrepressible sense of humor, Shaq Diesel always spread joy with his wit and charm. Those characteristics were on full display last night (September 9), when he accepted his place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame.
Not just a speech, Shaq made his acceptance more like a standup comedy routine. And, as is the case with the best comedy, each of the jokes were peppered with a dash of truth. Throughout it all, however, he conducted himself with class and grace. Shaq was welcomed into the Hall by Bill Russell, Alonzo Mourning, Isaiah Thomas and Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Setting the tone, Shaq said that though he was told to choose one, “I’m not good with listening to rules.”
He told hilarious stories about how terrible he was in high school, being recruited by LSU, dreaming about being like Dr. J and only learning that Yao Ming spoke English after 3 years of playing against him. Shaq also dedicated a great deal of time to his mother and stepfather Phillip Harrison, who he called “the most important man in my life.” In one of many class moves, he also had both of the mothers of his children stand while he celebrated them for the beautiful children they raised when he was often absent due to the demands of the game.
The line of the night, however, was saved for his old teammate Kobe Bryant, with whom he won 3 championships, while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Their complicated relationship is well-documented, and Shaq summed it up perfectly when he said “Kobe Bryant, a guy that would push me, and help me win 3 titles in a row. He also helped me get pushed off the team and traded to Miami.”
While his presence has been missed on the court, Shaq continues to share his colorfully personality through commentating and other endeavors.