Shaquille O’Neal on How Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy Inspired Him: “This Is What a Superstar Is Supposed to Be Like”

Published 01/02/2022, 10:08 PM EST
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Former professional basketball player/author Shaquille O’Neal speaks on stage during LIVE from the NYPL: Shaquille O’Neal held at the New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwartzman Building on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal has undoubtedly achieved legendary status in NBA history. Arguably from the very onset of his NBA career, the media and experts knew he was something special. However, it took a bit more than just being himself for him to get that status. He also needed a tad bit of inspiration from the greatest people to grace the entertainment industry.

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Tom Cruise is undoubtedly one of the biggest names when it comes to action movies in Hollywood. Eddie Murphy is a world-renowned figure for his comedic genius and work in the industry. Surprisingly, it turns out that these two iconic celebrities had something to do with O’Neal’s career. Apparently, it’s all due to the Lakers’ Legend Magic Johnson. This is what Shaq said about his inspiration from Cruise and Murphy.

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Shaquille O’Neal on how Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy inspired him

When Shaq appeared on GaryVee’s latest podcast, he revealed what he learned from Magic Johnson’s lifestyle. He said “I was a local star in San Antonio. I was a local star in Baton Rouge, but this guy is a superstar. Magic would take me to the clubs and I see Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy and all these people pull up and I was like, this is what a superstar is supposed to be like.”

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson, right, is guarded by Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals in Los Angeles. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal always knew that the fundamental difference between a star and a superstar was their mindset. Shaq acknowledged he knew he was just a local celebrity early in his career. He had to learn from the best, and the best back then was Magic Johnson.

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What did this mean for Shaquille O’Neal’s career?

To date, Shaq gives a lot of credit for his business ventures to Magic Johnson. It was Magic who got him thinking about what he wanted to do with his future.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 14: TV personality/retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal onstage at The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber at Sony Pictures Studios on March 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber will air on March 30, 2015 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Since Magic Johnson was dominating the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal had no option but to listen. Indeed, his advice changed his life and elevated him to the level of superstardom that he has achieved today. To be a legend, you’ve got to follow what the legends do.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

486 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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