“Have You Heard of Michael Jordan?”: Before Choosing LSU, Shaquille O’Neal Was Put Off by Dean Smith’s Obsession With His Old Talent
2024/04/02

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Shaquille O'Neal, the highly sought-after high school basketball player, had the opportunity to choose where he wanted to commit to playing in college. Although he visited the University of North Carolina, Shaq decided to commit to Louisiana State University due to coach Dean Smith's behavior. In his biography, O'Neal revealed that Smith's arrogance and focus on his previous achievements put him off. O'Neal also felt that he wasn't Smith's first choice, as another center had already committed to playing for UNC. 

Ultimately, O'Neal wanted to be the first and chose LSU instead. His decision proved to be successful as he became one of the greatest college basketball players.

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O'Neal's rejection of UNC was due to multiple factors, such as feeling that he wasn't ready to be compared to Michael Jordan, the lack of a certain vibe at UNC, and not wanting to be seen as the successor to a former UNC star.

 Although UNC missed out on O'Neal, he still flourished at LSU and went on to have a remarkable NBA career.

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