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Shaquille O'Neal Revealed The Story Of How He Stopped Being A Bully In School After A Kid He Beat Up Almost Died: "I'd Have Been Done, Done, Done. I Was A Different Person From That Day On."

Shaquille O'Neal Revealed The Story Of How He Stopped Being A Bully In School After A Kid He Beat Up Almost Died: "I'd Have Been Done, Done, Done. I Was A Different Person From That Day On."

Shaquille O'Neal is a larger-than-life figure in NBA history. His stories are legendary, Grant Hill knows one or two that you probably wouldn't repeat at work. O'Neal was an unstoppable beast on the court, and his antics off the court also have to be heard directly from a source to be believed. Shaq's personality has often been informed by his natural talent and gifts, but it seems he wasn't always the gentle giant he is now.  

Shaq has been huge since he was a kid, the man was a reported 6'2” during his freshman year in high school. And naturally, considering the nature of teenagers, the Big Diesel was teased about his size by his peers. And while his father always had him on the straight and narrow, there was a time when it made Shaq himself quite the bully. 

In an interview with Cal Fussman of Esquire Magazine in 2005, O'Neal shared the story of how his life changed in school. After an encounter with a fellow student that could have ended very tragically, O'Neal decided to stop being a bully. 

"I was bigger than everybody, and kids used to make fun of me, call me names like Shaquilla the Gorilla or Shaqueer. So I hit them because I didn't like it. I went from being a bully to a medium-level juvenile delinquent. I used to carry a knife. My dad and my uncle would be telling me, 'You're going to get in trouble and go to jail.' 

"The moment that changed my life came when I was about thirteen and this guy ratted me out for throwing something in class. I caught up with him after school and beat him up. When the kid went down I kicked him. Then he started having an epileptic seizure. A man ran out of his car and put something in the kid's mouth and got him to stop. If that guy hadn't come, the kid might have died, and I'd have been done, done, done. I was a different person from that day on."

The story is a terrifying one, a reminder of how quickly something can go wrong in this life. The important takeaway is that the kid was safe, and nobody was permanently scarred by the event. Bullying is a vicious cycle, and this story shows that even the biggest and strongest aren't exempt from its consequences. The ideal world is perhaps one where things don't have to get this bad for someone to realize that it is never okay to physically harm another human being.