‘Ain’t No Magic’: Shaquille O’Neal Remembers When His Father Smacked Him for Imitating Magic Johnson

Published 05/02/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 09: NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille’s At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal was a fearful name ever since the mid-90s, ’ until the day he retired. Today, he satisfies his balling self by passing brutally honest remarks after his analysis on the current players. But in the past, all of his time was focused on dismantling his opponents and uprooting their confidence.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

So how did Shaq become such a dynamic force of nature? It can’t just be about his height because the world is full of massive people who can’t even convert a layup. In a recent interview, Shaq revealed how a series of events shaped him into a rim-dominant player.

When the father of Shaquille O’Neal schooled him

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Big Shamrock, a stepson to an army veteran, was 6’9” even as a teenager. He was a jealous kid who would do anything to become better than those who ranked ahead of him in basketball. However, that knack for getting better was still not enough to amuse his tough father. Once they shifted to Texas, Shaq’s hooping dreams began to take shape, only because of his demanding dad’s strictness.

In the conversation with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Shaq revealed a story where his dad smacked him for imitating Magic Johnson. Notably, Magic was already a 5-time NBA champion when Shaq was still in high school.

The 49-YO remembered those days and detailed, “I go to a small high school in Texas. Our team is terrible. I made the team so I don’t give a sh*t. I started to get a little confident and then my dad take me to see John Koncak. Everything just changed overnight for me… I’m not doing Kareem… I like this Magic hat. So I’m working on my little handles, right? Then when I first started dunking, I never went to dunk… I finger roll it, I miss, my father comes out… *signals* timeout. I’m cool, he takes me aside… fu**in up? I said, ‘I’m just working on my little Magic’, Whap! Smacks me, ain’t no Magic, be Shaquille O’Neal. That’s when I started dunking. The reason why I dunk so fierce, because I was so angry, I wanted to tear the rim down.”

Read Also‘I’m Sorry’- Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal Explains Why He Took a Dig at Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell

The only time when someone dunked on Shaq

The Big Aristotle Shaquille O’Neal was never a three-point shooter. As a 7’1” 325 lbs athlete, he enjoyed making contact and ruling the rim. He studied college basketball to improvise on his dunking and enjoyed seeing fear on the faces of his defenders.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although his father never really appreciated him in order to force him towards greatness, Shaq decided early in life that he would break each of Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s records. Although he could not break them all, this competitiveness made him a player who never got posterized. Never, but once.

Shaquille O’Neal appears to promote “Toys for Tots” during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ. December 6, 2016, in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

In an earlier interview, Shaq had confessed, “I’ve only been dunked on one time, in 19 years. I’ve had a lot of dunk by’s, but face to face only one… Derrick Coleman. In Jersey. He came out, and I thought he was going to finger roll it, and he just dunked.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Well, that was that, because Shaq never again assumed anything and hence did not accept any dunk on him. So which of the many Shaq dunks is your favorite and whom did he dunk on? Share your interesting choices in the comments.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Sourabh Singh

1119 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT