2 Months After Exposing 12 Dark Years as “Juvenile Delinquent”, Shaquille O’Neal Marvels Over Latino Rapper’s Underdog Story

Published 09/01/2023, 8:48 AM EDT

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If there’s someone who can appreciate a true transformative story, it’s Shaquille O’Neal. The NBA legend who outgrew his humble beginnings with basketball went on to build an empire in his name that spans entertainment and business. He’s been ingrained in hip-hop culture since his early NBA days when he debuted as a rapper. Now he’s celebrating another spectacular multi-hyphenate who overcame his own struggles.

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O’Neal is expanding into a new music genre, but he’s still connected to his hip-hop roots. The former Los Angeles Laker brought the story of LA-based rap artist, B-Real to his 32 million Instagram followers’ attention.

Shaquille O’Neal highlights B-Real’s story

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Los Angeles-based news station, Spectrum News 1 profiled homegrown rapper, B-Real for the latest edition of LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez. Louis ‘B-Real’ Freese is one third of the iconic rap group, Cypress Hill. Since its inception in 1988, the group has blended Latino culture with hip-hop and made it mainstream.

They’re synonymous with Southside culture and are the first hip-hop groups to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. LA Stories was focusing on B-Real’s version of events and it caught the attention of Shaquille O’Neal

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I want to thank the legendary @gisellefernanfez for having me on LA Story! A highlight for me to say the least! Thank you to her and her amazing team for coming down and shedding some light on my story. All love and respect,” Freese wrote on Instagram.

Shaq shared the same post on his Instagram Stories clearly revealing he watched it. And conveying that he also wants others to watch it. After all, this isn’t his first encounter with the famed rap group. 

Shaq and Cypress Hill’s history

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Shaquille O’Neal came to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, when Cypress Hill was at the peak of its mainstream success. He was shaping up to be an NBA champion himself in a story that ran parallel with B-Real’s. 

Before he was a platinum-selling rapper, B-Real was involved in one of the most notorious LA-based gangs, the Bloods. He saw his father and brother get shot, was shot himself, and found salvation out of violence in music. 

O’Neal recently disclosed that he spent about a decade of his life as a “juvenile delinquent.” The one who stood by his side the entire time and believed he’d do better was his mother. Decades later, Shaq and B-Real would share the stage at The Calgary Stampede.

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‘DJ Diesel’ was one of the headlining acts along with Cypress Hill in July 2023. Days before the festival, Shaq revealed his delinquent past. And it appears he’s found a spirit-rapper in B-Real.

WATCH THIS STORY | Eyes Set on Buying Florida-Based NBA Team, Millionaire Shaquille O’Neal Now Linked With 3 Billion Dollar Deal

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Written by:

Caroline John

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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

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