Skip to main content

"Mr. Stern, next time somebody Hack-a-Shaq me, I don't mind taking 15-20 games."


The ultimate sign of dominance is the league changing rules to make the game more fair for your opponents. After shooting a free throw in an NBA game, the shooter is not allowed to cross the foul line (where they take the shot) until the ball hits the rim. Why? The NBA made that rule because of Wilt. Chamberlain that 49 percent of the time, after missing a dunk he could leap from the foul line to rebound his own shot and dunk it.

Shaquille O'Neal had a similar honor bestowed upon him. Shaq was so dominant that the only way to stop him was to foul him. Teams did it so aggressively that they would try to foul Shaq off the court. Whoever had the ball, just foul Shaq and send him to the free-throw line. So we got the "hack-a-Shaq." Shaq understood his size and strength didn't leave a lot of options on the table for the opposition, but he was getting sick of it. 

“One thing I love about David Stern, he was real. So we go into his office one day, 'cause I'm at the end, and I'm letting him know. 'Mr. Stern, next time somebody Hack-a-Shaq me, I don't mind taking 15-20 games.' and he says 'Son, if we called every foul that was committed on you, the game would last 4 hours.'

Shaquille O'Neal, ESPN

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Stern went on to tell Shaq while he's complaining about getting fouled, 28 other teams are complaining about Shaq. Nothing particular, just his existence in the game. Teams were asking for rule changes, or the Hack-a-Shaq would continue. O'Neal said he took the fouls as a compliment, admitting there is no other way to stop him.

What annoyed Shaq, and made Stern's argument resonate, were all the free throws. Not only was Shaq bad at them, but it ruined the flow of the game. It became a free-throw contest, not a basketball game. So Shaquille decided that he would withstand the fouls and become truly unstoppable. 

If Stern didn't calm him down and Shaq took "15-20 games," it would probably be more and someone would end up in intensive care. Glad that didn't happen, for all parties involved.

Bol Bol

Paolo Banchero compares Bol Bol to highly-touted prospect Victor Wembanyama - “Bol’s a freak of nature”

Banchero tried to avoid comparing Bol to Victor Wembanyama, but outlined the similarities between the star prospect and the new member of Orlando's frontcourt

Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet believes the Toronto Raptors would have three-peated had Kawhi Leonard stayed with the team

VanVleet said that had Leonard stuck with Toronto, the Raptors could have three-peated by winning the 2020 and 2021 NBA Finals

Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas playing against the New York Knicks

"Everybody wants to play in the Garden, besides the Knicks" — Gilbert Arenas goes in on New York Knicks fans

Gilbert Arenas breaks down why superstars don't want to play for the New York Knicks

Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley

"Patrick Beverley in the playoffs is an issue" — Iman Shumpert speaks on Patrick Beverley's value to the Los Angeles Lakers

Not everyone can see it right now, but Shumpert understands the importance of Pat Bev to the Lakers.


"It was an unmitigated slaughter calling out Shaq on everything" — Kobe Bryant savagely criticized Shaquille O'Neal in an unreleased statement

Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck talked about at the unpublished Kobe interview where he apparently ripped Shaq like never before.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

"He’ll give you the shirt off his back" — Juwan Howard's Michael Jordan story reveals the other side of Black Jesus

Juwan Howard expected to get trash-talked to death upon seeing Michael Jordan in Los Angeles.

Boston Celtics legend Kevin Mchale, Marcus Smart, Blake Griffin, Grant Williams, Malcom Brogdon

“The team honestly is stronger than any one coach” — Kevin McHale explains why Ime Udoka's scandal did not crumble the Boston Celtics

Celtics legend Kevin McHale admitted that he thought Udoka's suspension would significantly affect the Boston Celtics