Say What?!?!? The Best of Shaquille O’Neal


Shaquille “Big Diesel” O’Neal

Following his outstanding college career at Louisiana State University, Shaquille O’Neal was drafted 1st overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft.  He quickly became one of the top centers in the league, and standing 7’1” tall and weighing 325 pounds, he is one of the largest players ever to play in the NBA.  During his 18 seasons in the league, “Shaq,” as he is commonly nicknamed, has played for 6 teams; the Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and most recently the Boston Celtics.

O’Neal has appeared in 5 NBA Finals, winning three in a row with the Lakers.  His individual accolades include:  Rookie of the Year 1992-93, 1999-00 MVP Award, 15 All-Star game selections; collecting three All-Star MVPs, three Finals MVPs, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections.  He ranks 5th all-time in points scored, 6th in field goals, 12th in rebounds and 7th in blocks.

Shaquille O’Neal, while truly larger than life, has played the game of basketball more like an overgrown child than the giant of a man he is.  He has always been one of the most fan-friendly athletes, never shying away from signing autographs or taking pictures.  Fortunately, this attitude has provided some of the most memorable and comical ‘Say What?!?!?” sound bites in sports history.  Here are some of The Deliberation Room’s favorites:

 “Stay out of the gentlemen’s clubs. Get a lot of rest. Just have fun and relax and stay focused” 
- O’Neal’s secret to winning on the road

“I’ll take 14 out of 15 any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year, any year of the century. I don’t know what comes after century”
- On having the Heat’s 14-game winning streak snapped

“If I don’t get five [titles], I won’t be happy with myself as a basketball player.  I don’t know how you guys will feel about me”

“I told our guys they must not have cable because Antoine Walker knows how to play, Derek Anderson can play, Shandon Anderson knows how to play, and Gary Payton knows how play”
- Following a game between the Heat and Raptors; referring to Toronto’s excessive defensive focus on Dwyane Wade

“The stats win nothing.  I’m still sexy. I’m still great.”

Reporter: Let’s just say that a snake bit your mom right here, right in the chest area. Would you be willing to suck the venom out to win the title?
O’Neal: “No, but I would with your wife”

“If you go 72-11 and don’t win (the championship), it doesn’t mean anything. Actually it does. It means you’ve cheated and played an extra regular-season game”

Reporter: Shaq, do you have a special routine before the playoffs?
O’Neal: “Yeah, I let your mother rub my feet.”

 On The Sacramento Kings

“I’m not worried about facing the Sacramento Queens.  Write it down. Take a picture. I’m not going to talk about this all year. When I get back, there’s going to be trouble” 

On Kobe Bryant & The Lakers 

Shaq & Kobe Following Shaq's Trade To Miami


“In the seven or eight years we were together, we were never together.” 

“I’m not the one buying love.  He’s the one buying love”
- Referring to the ring Kobe Bryant bought for his wife, Vanessa, after he was charged with felony sexual assault, reportedly costing several million dollars

“If you’ve got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what’s going to happen.  He’s a Corvette.  I’m a brick wall”
- When asked how he might react if Kobe charges the lane during an upcoming Heat-Lakers game

“There is nothing to say because I know everything about him. I raised him.  I know what’s a charade, and I know what’s not a charade. I’ll leave it at that.”

“My personal opinion is, how, if you never hung out with somebody, do you know them so well? I never hung out with that dude because the dude is a weirdo”  

“That’s sort of a trick question, and I don’t have a trick answer. Next question, please.” 
- When asked about Bryant’s aggressive style

“I didn’t need motivation, I needed a real owner like Micky Arison, not a guy that parties with girls three times [younger than him] — when you’re 60, hang out with 60-year-olds, not 20-year-olds. You can quote me on that. I’ve got nothing else to say about Jerry Buss.”
- In response to comments made by Laker owner Jerry Buss

Reporter: People said that he is really motivated this year because he really wants to stick it to the Lakers. How true is that?
O’Neal: “I don’t let earthlings motivate me. I only let factors motivate me. The only thing that motivates me is, when I’m done playing, I want people to say, ‘He’s the Baddest Motherf**ka to ever play the game.’ Right now I am hearing that from some of the people. When I am done playing I want to hear that from all of the people. So right now I have three championships. That’s cool. I could probably retire now and wait 10 years and most likely be named into the Hall of Fame. Whoopty do. Right now I am not satisfied with my career just winning three championships, because I have been there five times, and I should have five right now. Should have five. Should have six, including this year, but it didn’t happen that way”

Reporter: Do you ever see the day where it would be possible for you to sit down, have a talk with Kobe Bryant?
O’Neal: “Who?”
Reporer: Kobe Bryant
O’Neal: ”You know what I am not familiar with that name, I know a lot of names and I have a lot of names in my head, but I am not familiar with that name. Especially if there is nothing to talk about, I’m sorry I can’t recall that name”

“He doesn’t need advice on how to play his position, but he needs advice on how to play team ball….If it’s going to be my team, I’ll voice my opinion. If he don’t like it, he can opt out”
- Referring to Bryant 

“I didn’t say anything. Got nothing to say. I’m a married man; I don’t need a relationship with another man”
- After being asked why he barely acknowledged Bryant before a Lakers-Heat game

“Look up the word role in the dictionary and you’ll see it means playing a part. That’s why I call myself a real model. The best quality about Kobe Bryant? You want me to be honest? I don’t know. I’ll tell you why. I open my arms to everybody. But he never stepped forward for the embrace. So I never really got to know him. I don’t know anything about him, and it’s kinda sad.”

On Free Throws

“If I was able to have the game I have and shoot 80% from the line, I’d probably be an arrogant person rather than a humble one.  Everything happens for a reason.” 

“In this millennium that we live in, the ‘Hack-a-Shaq’has proven not to work.  It might work a couple games every now and then, but when it comes to the playoffs or a championship series, it doesn’t work - not at all.”

“The Hack-A-Shaq is just a way of telling me that you can’t stop me. Thank you. I appreciate it.”

“Me having a beautiful wife and great family and friends around me, all the money I’ve got, all the things that I’ve got, a Ferrari that I just ripped the top off of and turned into a convertible, the rings I got, the two mansions on the water, a master’s in criminal justice, I’m a cop, plus I look good. So me shooting 40 percent at the foul line is just God’s way of saying that nobody’s perfect. If I shot 90 percent from the line, it just wouldn’t be right.”

“I’d shoot zero percent before I’d shoot underhanded.”

“That game was dedicated to Rick Adelman. I’m at home, in the bathroom, trying to take a dump, flipping through the channels and he’s complaining (on TV) about how I’m stepping over the line. I can’t even do a No. 2 in peace. I’m sitting there grunting at 12:30 at night. Can I go one day without somebody saying something negative about me?”
-Following Game 2 of the 2002 NBA Finals where O’Neal made 12 of 14 free throws and responded to comments by Nets coach Rick Adelman about O’Neal stepping over the line while shooting free throws

On His Abilities

“I’m going to be on a mission. I’ve handled my personal vendettas and handled them well. Every challenge you put in front of me, I’ve handled it, dismantled it – ate them, dropped them off in the bathroom and flushed them away.”

“I wouldn’t.  I would just go home.  I’d fake an injury or something”
- When asked how he would defend against himself

“I make the game easy. Double and triple me, I’ll kick it out to you for a wide-open shot. I’ll add years to your career.”

“I don’t have to shoot from more than two feet.  I’m top 50.  I’ve got 23,000 from where I shoot.”
- Responding to Danny Fortson’s statement that O’Neal is ineffective when he is more than two feet away from the hoop

“I don’t see anybody, in any conference, that can shut me down.  Any conference, anywhere in the world.”

“I’m upset at myself. I should have had 50.  I missed 13 free throws. That’s unacceptable. If I want to be accepted by Wilt and Kareem and Russell I’ve got to start playing better than that. Right now I’m still in the class of Hakeem and David Robinson and that’s not good enough for me. I want to be out there with the immortals.”

“I’ve read that same formula, but as an athlete I’m classified as phenomenal.  You could look it up.”
- Referring to the body-mass index, which would claim that Shaq is obese

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me.  And the one guy who didn’t vote (for me), thank you, too.”
- After receiving 120 of 121 first-place MVP votes from a panel of broadcasters and sports writers

“I knew I was dog meat. Luckily, I’m the high-priced dog meat that everybody wants. I’m the good-quality dog meat. I’m the Alpo of the NBA.”

“I’m the last in the line of Russells and Chamberlains.”

“When you flop, that’s just another message that you don’t know how to play me. Stand up and take your medicine like a man.” 

“I painted my toenails before Dennis Rodman.  One time at training camp, I stubbed my toe and the nail came loose.  My mom gave me some toenail hardener, and I painted over it.  I scored 40-something points that night, so it became a ritual.  Paint my toenails, score 40 points.”

“Once the Hack-a-Shaq works once, you know I’m going to see it again.  The only thing worse for basketball than that defense is the Lack-a-Shaq offense, where I have to go to the bench because of foul trouble.  There is no fun in that.”

“I am Superman.  And the only thing that can kill Superman is Kryptonite.  And Kryptonite doesn’t exist.”

Reporter: Build the perfect basketball player using four traits from other players?  Any four traits…someone’s quickness, someone’s jumping ability, smarts, whatever.
O’Neal: “Me. And all of my traits.”

Reporter: I’ve always thought you could have been the NFL’s best tight end…
O’Neal: “I would have to agree with you. I like physical contact, and I have great hands. If the Dolphins want to sign me, three years and $25 million. Throw it up like an alley-oop. I’ll go get it”

“I take that as an insult, even at 36.”
-Referring to the Spurs’ decision not to double-team him

Reporter: You’re in very good shape these days.  What’s your secret?
O’Neal: “I was with your mother last week.  She took care of me very well”

“If you’re going to hire an assassin, let him go out and kill someone. I can’t be Shaq taking six or seven shots.”

“If I get that thing down there in that area, that’s 67% lifetime.  If you don’t believe me, Google it.  I’m on the Internet.”
- Referring to his excellent field goal percentage when obtaining the ball near the basket

Reporter: You looking forward to seeing Dwight Howard again?
O’Neal: “Yes. See, this is also more marketing. If you compare a twenty-two-year-old to a thirty-nine-year-old, I must be a bad motherf**ker.”

“I don’t ever want to grow up.  I guess I’m like Peter Pan. Grown-ups have problems. I want to stay happy.”

“Ask your mother”
- When asked why he’s still so popular

On His Nicknames 

 “All this heaviness does not mean that I’m a monk.  I’m an unorthodox type of guy, a funny guy—at least I think I’m funny.  And one of the things I like to do is come up with nicknames for myself”“For all my friends in the media who like quotes, mark this quote down.  From this day on I’d like to be known as ‘The Big Aristotle’ because Aristotle once said, ‘Excellence is not a singular act; it’s a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.’”

Shaq - Always Good For a Laugh


“I want to be known as ‘The Big Shakespeare.’ It was Shakespeare that said, ‘Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.’”

 “The Big Stock Exchange” 
- “I start off at one price.  Every now and then I’ll go down, but eventually I’ll go back up”

“The Big IPO”
- “Put your money on me.  Because when I go public, we all gonna make money”

“The Big Antarctica”
- “Because I’m so cold”

“The Big Havlicek”
- “Which is what I called myself after making a bunch of foul shots one night”

“The Big Felon”   
- “For when I made a steal against Orlando and had a breakaway dunk with 15 seconds left, forcing overtime of what would become a Lakers victory?”

“The Almighty Conceitedness”
- “That’s the highest level of arrogance.  I made that up, too”

“If I were a painter, you’d be calling me Shaqcasso.”

“They call me the Big Sewer because I have a lot of shit in my game.”

“The Big Baryshnikov”
- After a hard foul sent him tumbling into a backward somersault before bouncing to his feet

“The Big Deporter”
- After eliminating foreign centers Vlade Divac, Rik Smits and Arvydas Sabonis from the playoffs

“The Big Cactus”
- “Because if you come too close, you’re gonna get stuck” 

- “If you go around the league, anybody with the last name ‘vich’ is a great shooter.  Radmanovic, Vujacic…all those ‘iches.”

“Superman my ass. When I was coming up and there was Pat Ewing and Hakeem (Olajuwon) and I never doubled anybody. You tell me who the real Superman is. Don’t compare me to nobody. I’d rather not me mentioned, I’m offended”
- Regarding Dwight Howard’s use of the Superman moniker for himself

On Phil Jackson:

“Phil took us to the finals three out of the five years and you want to fire him and want to bring in Mike Krzyzewski? Come on, man. That’s like being married to J-Lo, then dropping J-Lo for a girl that’s 5-10, 480” 
-After Game 3 of the 2004 NBA Finals, when the Lakers lost to the Pistons 88-68

“How can Benedict Arnold be reliable in what he says?”
- Referring to Phil Jackson, who criticized his work ethic after the Heat won the 2006 NBA Championship

“It’s pretty much the same; it’s just that Phil was very weird with his system.  This is more of the traditional system.”

 On Pat Riley 

“He’s the president. I’m the general. Unless I want to get impeached, I got to do what he says”

“It’s my job to make him look good.  He’s a very good looking man, so it’s my job to keep him looking goo”

“He’s the Italian version of my father. I don’t know if he’s Italian or not.”

“I think Bush came back because Colin Powell was there.  Hey, I’m the brigadier general, baby.”
- After being asked about Riley’s return to coaching the Miami Heat

On Yao Ming

“Tell Yao Ming, ‘ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’”
- Accompanied with appropriate kung fu moves

“You know what’s crazy about Yao? He speaks perfect English. A lot of people don’t know that. Perfect English. When I was over there, I called him. He’s like, ‘Whassup big fella?’ Perfect English!”


“I just want everyone to know I’m suing Ruben Studdard. He had his hand on my ass and he wouldn’t let go”
- After falling onto Ruben Studdard after a dunk in the 2004 All-Star game

“He’s got a ring, so I’m taking home the trophy”
- Referring to the co-MVP honors for both Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan in the 2000 All-Star game

“It’s good to go back home and sleep in my own bed and eat my own food — and see all of my wives.”

“Can you diiiigggg it!”

This entry was posted in Anthony Cillis, NBA, Say What?!?!? and tagged , , Shaq, Shaquille O'Neal. Bookmark the permalink.

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