Shaquille O'Neal was famously known for many things throughout his legendary career, such as being the most dominant big man in NBA history, his four incredible championships, and many more. But what many people don't know is that the Diesel was (and still is) actually a mama's boy.
Shaq's mother, Lucille O'Neal, shared a heartwarming tradition with him before games as she supported her gigantic child throughout his storied 19-year-career. Before every game, Lucille revealed that she would give Shaq a good luck kiss along with a piece of chewing gum as a form of good luck.
"I'll give him a wink and a smile, and he was playing his game. But by the time he got to the NBA, we had a ritual. I would give him bubblegum, and then I would kiss him, and I say play your game. As a grown man."
Lucille O'Neal, Sheinelle of 'Today.'
Isn't that so cute and wholesome? It truly depicts a mother's unconditional love and support for a son.
Nothing like a mother's love
At the early age of 17, Lucille was already raising Shaq and his siblings. She admitted that it wasn't easy, but she still did her best, thanks to her support system. Her husband, Joseph Toney, wasn't always present, so Lucille was pressured to set an example for all her kids.
"What helped us as a family is how we bonded together. I wasn't orderly or disciplining [them]. I loving. Just like a mother hen who says 'Come on baby, I got you,'" Lucille said.
Lucille also admitted that she only saw Shaq's potential in basketball after The McDonald's All American Game in 1989, when Shaq won the MVP. After Shaquille's incredible performance, his mother pushed him to get to the NBA and make the most out of every opportunity. Thanks to Lucille's support, Shaq made a career out of being the most dominant center in NBA history.
Mama knows best
Until today, Lucille continues to support and even give Shaq pieces of advice as he continues to pursue career opportunities post-retirement. When Shaq would constantly make fun of JaVale McGee in his Shaqtin' A fool segments on TNT, Lucille told him to cut it off. Shaq eventually followed his mother's advice and no longer makes fun of McGee.
This bright advice Lucille gave to Shaq is probably one of the many ones she's given to him throughout his life. It's also another proof of the importance of having a mother or a mother figure in life. Because after all, Shaq wouldn't be who he is today without Lucille O'Neal.