The NBA has featured some great big men since its inception, but Shaquille O'Neal always stands out. The way he used his size and frame to bully defenders in the paint made him one of the most dominant centers in the league. However, a lot transpired before that turned out to be a reality.
Shaq was recently a guest on 'Impaulsive' – a podcast hosted by Logan Paul and Mike Majlak. He touched upon his stature as one of the best and most dominant big men in the history of the NBA, giving fans an understanding of his process.
Realizing ambition to be the best big-man in the NBA
Shaquille O'Neal grew up without knowing his biological father and was raised by Sergeant Phillip Arthur Harrison, whom his mother Lucille O'Neal later married. Harrison, who passed away in 2013, greatly impacted O'Neal's life and basketball career. He was the one who urged the big man to strive for greatness.
"My father taught me all sports, you know, boxing, football, baseball, basketball. So, we beat this team one time, like a 100-4 … And I remember this kid, his father running on the court - bad and upset. He said, 'No way this kid is 10. If he's 10, he's going to be the best basketball player ever,'" Shaq recollected.
Two years later, Shaq wanted to become an NBA player
Although the incident at age 10 was pivotal in Shaq realizing his physical gifts, his dream to play in the NBA originated a couple of years later. O'Neal watched the New York Knicks play with his father and was in awe of Julius Erving's game. After watching that game, Shaq turned to Harrison and declared his desire to be an NBA player.
"I was like, 'Sir, I think I know what I want to be. I want to be an NBA player,'" Shaq recollected. "And he says to me 'If you listen to me, I'll make you one of the best big men ever.'"
Fast forward to 2011, O'Neal retired from the NBA with four championships, three Finals MVPs, and one regular-season MVP award. In 2016, the big man was inducted to the Hall of Fame – a final flourish to a respectable career.