Udonis Haslem Unravels ‘Big Fella’ Shaquille O’Neal’s Brute Force in Physical Locker Room Brawl With Pat Riley

Published 01/23/2024, 12:09 PM EST

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Shaquille O’Neal‘s time with the Miami Heat started off great. But after helping the franchise win its first-ever championship, Shaq quickly found himself at odds with then-head coach Pat Riley. Udonis Haslem, being one of the veterans on the team, once decided to step in to de-escalate an argument between the two. However, this turned out to be a bad idea, as the 4x champion quickly showed his real strength.

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The Miami Heat has its own way of doing things. However, Shaq, being the legend that he is, was not ready to let Pat Riley’s methods go by without expressing his concerns. In a recent episode of the Knuckleheads podcast, Haslem revealed how he learned it the hard way to not get in between them.

Before he ended up leaving us and going to Phoenix, he and Riley got into it. So it was like face-to-face confrontation. It was just a lot of talking back and forth. Nobody was backing down, and me being the stand-up guy, I just stepped in the middle. You know, ‘Come on, big fella. Man, it ain’t worth it,'” said Udonis Haslem, only for him to continue with “Man, I ain’t never had a man push me like I was a little boy… I flew by, like 5 feet. At that point, I’m like, That ain’t my fight.”

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Shaquille O’Neal has been universally given the title of the most dominant player in NBA history for a reason. His strength was on a whole other level. Despite Udonis Haslem being a well-built forward, he had no chance when Shaq decided to use his strength to move him out of the way.

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Shaquille O’Neal is usually not agitated enough to use his full strength. But his arguments with Pat Riley often pushed him to his limits and Shaq was soon traded from the team.

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Shaquille O’Neal did not have a fun time in Miami

This was not the first time that Shaq has had an issue with a member of the team. When he was with the Lakers, it was Kobe Bryant who had an argument with Shaq over his dedication to the game. However, his disagreement with Pat Riley stemmed from something entirely different.

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Riley was notorious for calling out his players when they messed up. And Shaq was not a fan of how Pat Riley treated the younger players on the team when they didn’t play up to their caliber. This led to him expressing his dissatisfaction and eventually getting into a full-on confrontation. However, over the years, the two have mended their relationship.

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese

687Articles

One take at a time

I did not follow the traditional route to become a journalist, but my love for basketball and writing has brought me here. Seeing LeBron James? Cleveland Cavaliers make the iconic comeback from a 1-3 deficit in 2016 changed everything for a young engineering aspirant within me. Rather than simply looking at the game, I love to analyze how each player contributes to a team using BPM (Box Plus Minus) and other advanced metrics.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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