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Despite 7 ft Stature, NBA Legend’s Mother Scared Shaquille O’Neal Just to Save Her Son: “Don’t You Be Talking to My Boy Like That”

Published 03/19/2023, 9:50 AM EDT

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Apart from their awe-inspiring performances, many of NBA’s superstars are also known for their trash-talking skills. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is one such player who knows to talk trash. Shaquille O’Neal‘s exuberant sense of humor and hilarious comebacks prove the point.  Though trash-talk is generally employed by players to undermine their opponent’s confidence, many use it to enhance humorous spirit. This aspect of trash-talk has paved the way to a great friendship in O’Neal’s life.

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NBA icon Gary Payton is one of the famous trash-talkers of all time. Payton believed in mental toughness and many regarded him as a psychological leader. He was a mentor to Shaq when both of them were with the Los Angeles Lakers. Moreover, both of them indulged in talking trash to each other. However, one time, the big man had almost gotten into trouble after talking trash to Gary Payton.

Seven-footer Shaquille O’Neal gets intimidated


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Given Shaquille O’Neal’s colossal physique and larger-than-life persona, people who cross his paths are likely to get intimidated. However, Gary Payton was an outlier, and he used to get on Shaq’s face with his ace trash-talking skills. Once, during a game, Gary raked so much trash that Shaq wanted to fight him. However, Shaq had to refrain after the former’s mother scared the Big Aristotle.

“I wanted to fight Gary in one of the games. He was talking trash, but Mama Payton gave me this look. Mama Payton gave this look, I was like, yes Ma’am, yes Ma’am,” Shaq said. Referring to Mama Payton’s gesture, Shaq added, “Don’t you be talking to my boy like that! Yes Ma’am.”


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The Big Aristotle is accustomed to intimidating peers on the court both with his performance and trash-talk. However, Mama Payton was way out of Shaq’s league.


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“When you talk to a guy like Gary, you gotta keep talking, because Gary ain’t gonna shut up,” Shaq said. If it were not for Mama Payton’s look, Shaq would have definitely continued to give it back to Gary.

Partners in crime

DJ Diesel is one player who enjoyed sharing the stage with Gary Payton. When Shaq and co won a three-peat with the Lakers, he invited Gary to join the Lakers so that Gary can finally win a title in his career. Though the side had reached the finals that season, they failed to win the ring. However, a few years later, Gary joined the Miami Heat, and the side won the championship in 2006. Interestingly, Shaq too was a part of the successful Miami side.


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Despite all the trash-talking, the duo has immense respect for each other. Both Shaquille O’Neal and Gary revealed that they talked so much trash that anyone else might think they will start a brawl. However, that was not the case. The two legends admired each other, and they knew they were having fun at each other’s cost.

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Written by:

Krishna Prasad M


One take at a time

Krishna Prasad is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has a Master's degree in English and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism. A trained reporter, Krishna's intense passion for sportswriting prompted him to become an NBA journalist.
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Edited by:

Aayush Kapoor