Nowadays, some old-timers may only remember Jermaine O'Neal as the then phenomenal All-Star big man Indiana loved. We can't blame them as it was during his Pacers days when "J.O." really reached the heights.
However, not all may have noticed it, but O'Neal enjoyed a few more productive seasons after leaving Indiana in 2008, most notably with the Miami Heat.
"J.O." the Miami Heat star
On the heels of his brief spell with the Toronto Raptors, O'Neal joined the Heat in 2009 and quickly became a compelling co-star for Dwyane Wade, consistently making his presence felt on both the offensive and the defensive end.
Though he only played for a total of 61 games for Miami, O'Neal was undeniably efficient, having finished his second season with the team averaging 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
Oreos helped Jermaine decide
Heading into his third season with the Heat, O'Neal has earned his spot in the organization. Miami wanted him to stay and become part of a team that will soon be spearheaded by the historic trio of D-Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.
Everything sounded promising indeed, and "J.O." was somehow enticed. However, Miami's strict diet program turned out to be a dilemma for O'Neal, as everybody on the team should only have around "8% body fat."
Needless to say, a natural power forward like O'Neal was having a hard time complying until a pack of "Oreos" finally set him free.
"Listen, I'm gonna be honest. I'm gonna start with Miami," O'Neal said on Knuckleheads podcast. "They wanted me to re-sign. I knew that Bron and them was coming, and this is the realest thing I could tell y'all: You know they got that 8% body fat, that sh*t is serious. For a big guy, that's heavy lifting."
"I remember going into the pantry at night, looking at the Oreos, the Oreos looking at me. And I couldn't - Bruh, I am in a full battle, daily, on what I ate. And I was like, 'Bruh, I'm 30-plus years old, I can't go through this.' So I was like, 'Bruh, I'm too old to be having a debate whether I want to have an Oreo or not.' Right? I can't do that sh*t. So That's why I left Miami."
O'Neal's story may be hilarious if you really think about it. But on the other hand, it's also a bit unfortunate, knowing that a couple of years after that, O'Neal would've finally copped his first NBA title.