Shaquille O’Neal ‘Lit the Fire’ and Broke Into ‘Full Out Race’ After Pat Riley Embarrassed Him in Heat Locker Room!
2024/04/02

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Shaquille O’Neal has always been known as a dominant force in basketball, but he also had a mischievous side. During his time with the Miami Heat, there were a lot of tense moments between him and team president Pat Riley. However, Shaq never let that dampen his spirits. In a podcast with Heat legend Udonis Haslem, Shaq revealed how he managed to trick Riley.

Shaq was well aware that his body fat percentage was a concern for Riley. The Lakers icon shared in the podcast, "So Pat was a stat guy, so I tricked him… So one day he came in the locker room and he embarrassed me, ‘Oh you fat’, this and that… I was like, ‘Pat’, I said, ‘I understand your guys, it’s just body fat, this and that but here are the numbers.

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Since 1992, I’ve been averaging 37, 15, and 3 blocks!’"

Surprisingly, Shaq's mind games worked, at least for a while. He managed to take some pressure off himself by confronting Riley with impressive statistics. However, Shaq's honesty about his eating habits didn't sit well with Riley. Shaq added, "Then I told Pat, he got mad. I said, ‘Pat, I don’t eat salads... I’m the type of guy to go to McDonald’s, eat a motherf****** burger, and bust a motherf*****’s ass. That’s just how I am."

Although Shaq may have played mind games with Riley, the embarrassment he felt served as motivation for him to work harder.

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He teamed up with former Heat veteran Alonzo Mourning, who was known for his physicality and incredible skills as a center. Haslem revealed in the podcast, "They lit the fire, they started racing and s***, jumping jacks, any kind of competition they could get into, it was on… Oh man, they full-out raced, 20-yard dash… Man, they were crazy."

Shaq's desire to be the best and his refusal to let anyone outshine him worked out well for the Miami Heat. It was a perfect fit for both sides. Shaq admitted that he was jealous of others' success, but that attitude only fueled his determination to excel on the court.

In the end, Shaq's mind games and Riley's motivational tactics pushed each other to new heights. The legendary center and the strict team president found a way to coexist and create a winning culture. Their clashes may have been intense at times, but it was all part of a greater goal – to bring the Miami Heat success. And that, they certainly achieved.

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