“His Mother Passed…Didn’t Even Cry”: Shaquille O’Neal Pens Emotional Letter for Late Step-Father & Sergeant Philip Harrison

Published 01/24/2024, 10:46 PM EST

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You do not force discipline on someone usually. It is a naturally attained character that comes from understanding and being patient in your work. Anyhow for Shaquille O’Neal, it was instilled from a very young age by his father, who worked for the army. Sgt. Philip Harrison had his ways with the Lakers champion, and Shaq has often compared his story with his father to the famous movie venture ‘Karate Kid‘. On yet another episode of speaking about his dad, the Los Angeles Lakers legend shared a 5-worded letter for Harrison in a podcast. 

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Shaq was a tough guy on the court only because of his father. He didn’t understand a lot of things his dad did initially. But later in his career, he believes it helped him big time. Shaq joined a YouTube podcast wherein a segment of the show, the guest is asked to share a few words on the topic, ‘Dear Father’. Shaq did not have too much to say. The only thing he wanted to do was express his gratitude. But before that, he shared how tough Philip Harrison was. 

The 4-time champion shared, “My father wasn’t big on conversations…Growing up, I wanted everything, I was busting everybody else…We play on Saturday, we come back, we had a little cookout. When I wake up on Sunday, those trophies are gone.” When Shaq questioned his dad about his trophies, he showed a separate room where he had placed all of them. Well, this was only to make sure that his 7-foot son doesn’t get satisfied with the small victories. This is a lesson Shaq learned from his father and to show his gratitude he shared, “Dear Philip Sergeant Harrison Butchie, Thank you…you are right”

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Shaq wanted to keep it simple, but these five words would mean the most to his father. 

Shaquille O’Neal shares the only time he saw his dad cry

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All his life, Shaq saw his father cry only once. He shared, “My father was so hard that when his mother passed away, he didn’t even cry”. That is what years of service in the army turned him into. But there was one time when Phillip Harrison cried and it was when Shaq won his third championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

That was one of the toughest runs for the Lakers, which turned out to become the fifth three-peat in the NBA history. But most importantly for Shaq, it made his father cry. That is indeed bigger than history. Well, it’s safe to say Shaq would not be here if not for his father. 

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Written by:

Rohan Dharmalingam

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I could have never imagined getting a shoutout from Los Angeles Lakers icon Shaquille O'Neal and the rap legend 50 Cent on Instagram. But they say 'Dreams Do Come True' right? This is what EssentiallySports has given me. Covering trade rumors, contract signings, lives of NBA superstars and legends has been my go-to thing.
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