Shaquille O'Neal was a beast in front of the basket, always going for the dunk, sometimes destroying the rim with all his strength. Well, there was a time when he just wanted to be like Magic Johnson but his dreams were ruined very quickly.
During a recent interview with Showtime's "All the Smoke" podcast, the Big Diesel revealed the story of how his father told him not to imitate Magic and try to be himself. After that, things changed for Shaq, who never stopped dunking the ball (17:55).
“I go to a small high school in Texas. Our team is terrible. I made the team so I don’t give a sh*t. I started to get a little confident and then my dad take me to see John Koncak. Everything just changed overnight for me… I’m not doing Kareem… I like this Magic hat. So I’m working on my little handles, right? Then when I first started dunking, I never went to dunk… I finger roll it, I miss, my father comes out… *signals* timeout. I’m cool, he takes me aside… fu**in up? I said, ‘I’m just working on my little Magic’, Whap! Smacks me, ain’t no Magic, be Shaquille O’Neal. That’s when I started dunking. The reason why I dunk so fierce, because I was so angry, I wanted to tear the rim down.”
Things were very good for him and his dunks. Of course, Shaq always struggled with free throws but when teammates gave him the ball near the rim, that man was unstoppable. You can credit (or blame) his father for his domination. He became a bad man and no matter how hard people tried, there was no stopping for Shaq.
Imagine a guy his size playing like Magic Johnson... He would have been the ultimate player. No doubt about it.