Shaq: “First Time I Ever Got Killed” Was by 7 ft College Basketball Legend From LSU

Published 04/15/2024, 12:24 PM EDT

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Shaquille O’Neal is himself a mountain of a person. Who could have given him a tough time as a basketball player? Well, it turns out his own LSU teammate, Stanley Roberts, gave him a tough time. Shaq shared his humbling experience on ‘The Big Podcast with Shaq‘ and revealed how he struggled playing with Roberts. As a result, he once even ran behind the 7-foot center with a trash can!

The name Stanley Roberts conjures images of a powerful force in college basketball—a 7-foot legend whose supremacy on the floor was unmatched. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1991 and arrived in the NBA with a commanding presence and the potential to make a lasting impression. But talking about their LSU days, O’Neal said on the podcast, “He was different… I give all the credit in the world to Stan. Stan used to kill me every day. The first time I’ve ever got killed like that, I used to get killed every day.”

But did you know that ‘The Big Man’ was also jealous of Roberts? As per his own admission in 2022, Roberts was a natural player. While no one could sideline Shaq, Roberts’ skills were on a different level. This infuriated Shaq, who admitted, “It was obvious the coaches liked how he was way better than how I played. They were always talking about him, even though he was cutting class and getting in trouble and messing up. Stanley was really talented.”


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“He could shoot step-back jumpers and turnarounds. He had some great moves. He could even shoot threes. The problem with Stanley was he just didn’t seem to care enough.” However, O’Neal had a bittersweet relationship with his teammate.

When Shaquille O’Neal chased Stanley Roberts with a trash can at LSU

During his freshman year at LSU, Roberts had academic eligibility issues with the NCAA. Owing to this, he had to sit out that year. But the following year, 1989-90, he was back on court and averaged 14.1 points and 9.8 boards. That same year, Shaquille O’Neal was a freshman at LSU and had a stat line similar to his teammate.


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However, what went wrong with Roberts? O’Neal has always been of the opinion that Roberts was consumed by college life: Staying out until very late and drinking, showing up out of shape and late for practice. In fact, during a June 1990 practice, he showed up with a hangover. He and Shaq were paired for a scrimmage. Considering Roberts was still hungover, one couldn’t expect much from him, right? Wrong.

The two players engaged in a crazy series of tomahawk dunks and soon got entangled. Roberts was giving O’Neal a tough time. Soon. the latter started chasing Roberts with a metal trash can! Shaq wondered how good Roberts would be if he hadn’t been drinking. Thus, to a certain extent, he credited his teammate for his own success. It was good having around someone who was better than him. Just a month after the trash can incident, Roberts left LSU for the Spanish professional team, Real Madrid.

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He played in the NBA from 1990-1999. However, the year 1999 proved to be a tough one for him. Shaquille O’Neal’s ‘twin tower’ from LSU was the first player to get suspended by the NBA (for two years) under the league’s new anti-drug policy. “I don’t know how the drug got into my system because I don’t remember taking it. I’ve been in the NBA for eight flawless years and at the drop of a hat I get kicked out,” he stated back then.


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While it was career-destroying, he got his life together and after the NBA, he also played for Efes Pilsen- Turkey, San Diego Wildfire- ABA, and Gallitos de Isabela- Puerto Rico.


Written by:

Arya Patil


One take at a time

Arya is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She skillfully combines her academic acumen with a passion for the game that she developed over years of watching the ups and downs of the NBA. Arya is a seasoned journalist who provides fans with a detailed look at the league's inner workings.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph