Shaquille O’Neal Dominated in the NBA but Sometimes Relied on 2 Massive Celebrities for Extra Motivation: ‘We’re Really Good Friends’
Whenever basketball fans argue about who the NBA’s GOAT is, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are probably the two most mentioned players. However, someone else might actually have been the most dominant, even if they aren’t counted as a GOAT: Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq was an unstoppable force in the color and would bully the defenders with relative ease with his muscled 7-foot-1. Despite this dominance, he sometimes needed additional motivation if he didn’t quite live up to his high standards. O’Neal often looked for that extra boost during these games by reaching out to a couple of big celebrities, Snoop Dogg and B-Real, as they had apparently both held the NBA icon accountable.
Shaq played in front of various celebrities during his NBA career
Shaq played regularly in front of some big stars throughout his career, particularly during his eight seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. His powerful dunks and his imposing presence in the paint had box office draws that everyone wanted to see his show.
“I’ve seen all of my favorite actors and actresses,” O’Neal said in a recent interview with Sportscasting for his and The Generals’ upcoming partnership with Black Entrepreneurs Day. “It was my job, my duty, to show off for her. Listen, every boy wants a hot actress, girlfriend, or wife, so they might send someone over to get my phone number when I’m doing a show. But I’ve seen them all; we definitely brought it out. “
The list of stars O’Neal has played for can probably fill a Hollywood phone book (do they still have them?), And he even admitted on a September 2021 episode of the Kelly Clarkson Show that he was actually taking a break during a game because he saw Halle Berry in the stands.
Whenever he was looking for motivation, however, the Hall of Famer looked to two specific celebrities.
Shaquille O’Neal relied on Snoop Dogg and B-Real for motivation
Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers before a game against the Washington Wizards on April 2, 2002. | G Fiume / Getty Images
Rappers Snoop Dogg and B-Real are huge Lakers fans, so Shaq – who won three titles for Purple and Gold – probably gave them a lot of joy during his days in LA.
But there were a few nights that O’Neal didn’t have his best stuff, and they definitely let him know.
“Snoop Dogg and B-Real always stayed on top of me,” said O’Neal. “… If I didn’t recover or [was] missed free throws, they just got up and made sure I saw them; they would be like (give him a dissatisfied look). So we’re really good friends, Snoop Dogg and B-Real from Cypress Hill; we’re laughing about it now. “
O’Neal added that “sometimes” you need that extra motivation.
“Sometimes you need people you honor and respect to let them know, ‘Hey, make something of it. … We’re trying to win a championship, ”he said.
Several times, Shaq stepped it up and it resulted in him becoming a huge star himself.
Shaquille O’Neal’s dominance helped him become a star himself
The funny thing about O’Neal relying on celebrities for motivation is that, in turn, it has helped him maybe even become a bigger star than they are, since he’s now one of the most famous people who ever lived .
Shaq not only dominated the basketball court by receiving 15 All-Star selections and an MVP award, scoring the eighth most points in NBA history, and eventually winning four championships (three with the Lakers and one with Miami Heat), but he has also had extrajudicial successes.
The number 1 overall selection in the 1992 NBA Draft has appeared in countless commercials and even has shoe and apparel lines. He also starred in his own film, Kazaam, and is now on TNT’s Inside the NBA. It’s hard to find celebrities, even Snoop Dogg and B-Real, to match O’Neal’s popularity.
All in all, Shaq’s NBA dominance helped lay the groundwork for his path to stardom. But on those nights he wasn’t playing his best, he had other celebrities who had held him accountable.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference
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