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“Shaq threw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.” — Howard Beck shared behind-the-scenes stories about Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq may pull a prank but that doesn't mean he's always in a happy mood.
Laker center Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal

Every basketball fan knows Shaquille O’Neal is a comedian by nature, and his “Shaqtin’ A Fool” segment is living proof. However, there’s a time for everything, as they say, and Shaq is well aware of it too.

The big fella is a kid

According to Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck, everybody knows O’Neal and Kobe Bryant have had their ups and downs during their time with the Los Angeles Lakers. And during those years, there were times when there was “extreme tension” between the two colossal NBA superstars.

Beck said that, more often than not, the reason behind those abrupt shifts in the pair’s relationship was Shaq’s kid-like mood swings. And apparently, not one bit has changed in that as “Diesel” carried that to this day.

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The fact is, as everybody knows, Shaq is just a big overgrown kid,” Beck wrote on HoopsHype. “To this day, even in his role at TNT, you still see it. I mean that in the most endearing way possible. He loves to be the life of the party and practical jokes.

Behind the scenes, I think of moments with Shaq and us (media) where things would get mockingly contentious sometimes,” he continued. “He’d get a little snippy about what we’d ask him about or snippy because that he wouldn’t win MVP one year, and he said, ‘You guys have already given it away.’ It was the year Jason Kidd was reviving the Nets, and he thought Kidd would win it. By midseason, that was all the buzz, but I think Tim Duncan won it that year.

Things would get physical at times

When interviewing a 7-foot-1, 350-pound giant, Beck said that the last thing you would want to do is to upset him. But in their line of work and Shaq’s moods, everything is inevitable.

According to Beck, O’Neal never cursed at them over a question he didn’t like, but the NBA Hall of Famer would sometimes get physical with them but in a playful manner. However, the message behind it was clear.

Imagine a person being completely enveloped by this 7-foot mammoth of a human being,” Beck wrote, recounting how Shaq “pogo stick” a beat writer once. “My version of that was a couple of years later. I asked something Shaq objected to, and rather than curse me out or walk away at shootaround, Shaq leaned over, grabbed me, and threw me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. I’m over his shoulder, looking down his backside with my notepad in one hand and my recorder in the other hand, holding on for dear life and trying not to drop my stuff, wondering how this is going to end.

Knowing Shaq, Beck’s revelations could be true, as the Lakers legend is known for pulling off shocking stunts. However, it has to be taken into account that, like any normal person, Shaq isn’t always in a happy mood.

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