Miami Heat Coach Was Infuriated by ‘Naked’ Shaquille O’Neal Spoiling Team’s Culture

Published 06/21/2022, 12:00 PM EDT
Apr 24, 2007 – Chicago, IL, USA – NBA Basketball: Miami Heat DWYANE WADE, SHAQUILLE O’NEAL against Chicago Bulls in Chicago at the United Center on April 24, 2007. The Bulls won 107-89. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The NBA has seen some unreal athletes throughout its 75 years. However, no giant like Shaquille O’Neal had ever entered the league. Despite being 7ft tall, Shaq had nuclear athleticism behind him. Moreover, he was as petty as a competitor as the best. However, the Big Diesel kept room for fun within the team locker to keep the spirits high. And his former Miami Heat coach was furious because of this.

Entering the league, there was no answer to Shaq’s dominance. He quickly became one of the best players in the world, and his stretch with the Lakers remains to be one of the most unreal seasons in league history.

(GERMANY OUT) Shaquille O’Neal Basketballspieler Miami Heat; USA: neben Kobe Bryant (l., Los Angeles Lakers) (Photo by Pressefoto Ulmerullstein bild via Getty Images)

However, after notching a three-peat, O’Neal relaxed a bit. While he still had the hunger to win more than Kobe, Shaq understood the need to have a light mood.

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However, Stan Van Gundy was beside himself looking at Superman’s behavior back then.

Shaquille O’Neal and Stan Van Gundy never saw eye to eye

Shaq’s time in Miami often goes back to the time he delivered on his promise to the city. With Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade behind him, the Big Aristotle won his fourth and last title with the Heat. But before the glory days were some dark days. When Riley first resigned, Van Gundy, took control of the Heat. And the Big Diesel and he weren’t on the same page.

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In O’Neal’s book, he had a lot to say about Gundy. Notably, he revealed the former Heat coach didn’t like his jokes. He said: “He didn’t understand it was good for our team to be loose”

O’Neal also wrote that Van Gundy didn’t like him doing silly stuff like naked jumping jacks just to get his teammates to smile and relax. Eventually, Van Gundy was shown the doors by the Heat, and Riley came back in force. While the rumor said Shaq was a huge reason, he revealed he didn’t play any hand in Van Gundy being pushed out. But their beef didn’t stop there. After Van Gundy and Dwight had beef, Shaq surprised everyone. After years of slander, O’Neal came to Dwight’s defense and spoke against Van Gundy.

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Over time, their beef has mellowed down, and they have even had conversations on television. With Shaquille O’Neal always being in the face of drama, where do you rank this beef? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

1156 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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