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“Didn’t Say You Can Talk”: After Threatening His “Girlfriend’s” Replacement, Shaquille O’Neal Publicly Troubles One Fan for 1 Annoying Reason

Published 09/27/2023, 7:20 AM EDT

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DJ Diesel is always bringing fans on stage during his sets. But Shaquille O’Neal likes to be taken a little seriously during conferences discussing his new investment. Shaq was the mood-maker at TechCrunch Disrupt, where he was talking about his investment in a purpose-driven startup. Balancing his brand of humor with some thought-provoking lessons, the 4x NBA champion made the event memorable with some entertaining moments. At one point, he faced a grievance when his “girlfriend” was replaced during the event.

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Another such occurrence was when Big Diesel invited a fan over to sit with him. It would’ve been wholesome if it wasn’t for the threat underlining the gesture.

Shaquille O’Neal has a less than wholesome fan moment


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As a new investor in Edsoma, Shaquille O’Neal was at TechCrunch Disrupt for some serious talk. But he also came loaded with wit and humor. One of the highlights of the event was when Shaq interrupted the panel to bring a fan on stage. But this is not one of his heartwarming fan interactions. “You keep making faces at me,” Shaq pointed at a guy in the audience who had been apparently bothering him from a distance. “Come up here and sit next to me.”

The Los Angeles Lakers legend clarified it wasn’t any rude faces. “He told me ‘I love you.’ I love you too buddy,” revealed O’Neal.

MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA – APRIL 07: Shaquille O’Neal speaks during Pepsi Stronger Together and CTG Foundation Atlanta Law Enforcement Press Conference on April 07, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Pepsi Stronger Together)


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Even though he meant to send his love signals to the big man, O’Neal wanted to turn it down. “Bro, I’m doing the speech, be quiet,” Shaq tried to discreetly convey. But when the fan kept up his antics, he was called on stage. “So now you’re next to me,” the most intimidating center in NBA history snarled at his fan.

The man, who introduced himself as George, then sat next to Shaq on his exclusive couch.

At the start of the event, Shaq dubbed it the Charles Barkley seat and said he and his Inside the NBA co-host couldn’t fit in it together. But George did. Overwhelmed sitting next to the Big Aristotle himself, he blurted, “This is cool, you’re a big dude.” That’s when Shaq chimed, “I didn’t say you could talk.”

When the moderator implied that the fan could be back there as an investor or entrepreneur, Shaq said, “You will.” At least George walked away unscathed.

Shaq’s threat to another bystander


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That wouldn’t be the only interruption during the hard-nosed business talks.

The linguist was especially charmed by the female sign language interpreter at the start of the event. He’d ask her how to sign random words like “divorce,” “cash” and “salad“. However, a male interpreter replaced her for the rest of the event.

Shaq was so upset about the new guy replacing his “girlfriend”, he told the new interpreter, “I was about to beat you up, dude.”


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George was the other guy whose signs were bothering Shaq. He, however, tackled it with wit and lightened up the room with laughter.

WATCH THIS STORY | A Year After Lashing Out at ‘Plumber’ Claim, Shaquille O’Neal Defends 95-Year-Old “Luckiest SOB” and Celtics Fan

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Written by:

Caroline John


One take at a time

Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair