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Shaquille O'Neal reveals why he was jealous of his former LSU teammate - "It was obvious the coaches liked how he was way better than how I played"

Shaquille O'Neal explains why he was jealous of his former LSU teammate, Stanley Roberts
Shaquille O'Neal and Stanley Roberts as teammates at LSU

Shaq and Roberts at LSU

Shaq was a high school phenom, but by the time he got to college, there were a few players in the country that were regarded as better prospects, one of those players that could hold his own against Shaq was his own LSU teammate, Stanley Roberts.

Roberts was an immensely talented 7-footer who appeared to have it all. The problem with Stanley was he allowed college life to get to him and wasn’t focused on perfecting his craft. This was something that infuriated O’Neal just because of the sheer skill level Stanley possessed and how he seemed to waste his potential with a deep lack of focus. Shaq was admittedly jealous of his former college teammate, as per Shaq Uncut: My Story;

“I was jealous of Stanley Roberts.”

“It was obvious the coaches liked how he was way better than how I played. They were always talking about him, even though he was cutting class and getting in trouble and messing up. Stanley was really talented. He could shoot step-back jumpers and turnarounds. He had some great moves. He could even shoot threes. The problem with Stanley was he just didn’t seem to care enough.”

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Stanley had academic eligibility issues with the NCAA and was unfortunately forced to sit out his freshman year at LSU. The following season, in 1989-90, he averaged 14.1 points and 9.8 boards for the Fighting Tigers. Shaq was a freshman that year and had a very similar stat line with 13.9 points with 12 boards — so it’s safe to say the numbers back up Stanley’s reputation.

Stanley was consumed by the college life

Roberts was the star on campus; he was likable and outgoing but had a hard time fighting all the temptations that come with that kind of lifestyle. Ultimately he was quite consumed by college life and couldn’t find the appropriate level of focus that Shaq felt would propel him into a much more dominant player. 

Shaq recalled their preseason together; “Stanley showed up out of shape, and since Wayne Sims was a captain he had to get up at five o’clock in the morning and run with him. Wayne was so pissed about that. The two of them were roommates, and once in a while Coach would call Wayne and say, ‘Is Stanley going to class? Let me talk to him.’ Stanley hadn’t even come home from the night before, so Wayne would cover for him by saying, ‘He’s in the shower, Coach. He’ll have to call you back.’ In spite of all that, Stanley still managed to average 14 points and 10 rebounds a game.”

Stanley left LSU to sign with Real Madrid

Not a bad alternative — playing for one of the best teams in Europe, however, one cannot help but ask what could have been if Roberts had a more humble and focused demeanor. According to Shaq, the sky was the limit for Stanley, “He was there trying to sweat out the alcohol. I’m thinking, Imagine how good he’d be if he hadn’t been out all night.”

During one of their scrimmages in June of 1990, after Shaq's freshman season, Roberts came to the gym with a hangover from the night before. The two big men were matched up and what followed was a crazy series of tomahawk dunks, after which they got tangled up and squared off for a second before Roberts regained his cool. The problem was, Shaq was out for blood and started chasing Roberts around the gym with a metal trash can. Roberts managed to avoid Shaq and quickly left the gym.

"One month later, Stanley Roberts left LSU to sign with the Spanish professional team Real Madrid."

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