Shaq Top Ten List of Memories

3) In his parting news conference someone asked Shaq what advice he had for players today.  He answered by saying “Be leaders and not followers.”  This is something that Shaquille O’Neal has done his entire career.  On that trip when he did take me car shopping, (offered to take care of the down payment), he also bought every single player on the TRAINING CAMP roster a new rolex as a token of gratitude for the recent championship and his newly minted contract extension.  He also stopped off at the Beverly Hills [content_ads float=”left”]
Big and Tall store and spent $4,000 dollars on a new LA type wardrobe for me.  On that same shopping trip a man on the side of the road in Beverly Hills had a sign “Honk if you’re against racism.”  Shaq hon

2) The fun factor: The Big Fella conducted a symphonic orchestra!!  Afterwards he was quoted with a new respect for directors saying that his arms were “shot” after the rehearsal.  Click Here But he brought fun and laughing everywhere he went.  One time after a Portland Trailblazers game Shaq was frustrated with me because he had wanted me to “go at” Rasheed Wallace more.  I thought I had played Rasheed as tough as possible.  But Shaq gave me an earful in the shower that night after the game.  That was tough for me.  The guy who took me under his wing for so long was upset with me and I was doing my best.  Shaq continued to push me for a few days and then came back and built me up.  Before a Denver game at home he said, “Every time you touch the ball tonight I want you to shoot it.”  He just wanted me to be aggressive.

1) During a time in LA when the Lakers were gong through adversity, a few of us were in the locker room after practice getting showered up and ready to go home. He started talking about possibly retiring and his frustrations.  The NBA had changed the defensive rules at the peak of Shaq’s dominance and some speculated that the rules were changed partly to respond to Shaq’s dominance.  He was frustrated about this.  He was probably frustrated with Hack-a-Shaq though he never talked much about that.  He was probably mad that he got fouled so much and the opposition had to hit him hard so that Shaq would not get both the made basket and a free throw.  But despite all of the hacking and refs sometimes missing calls (Shaq was so strong he played through a ton of fouls), he just kept on going.  The #1 on my list is how Shaquille O’Neal gave the league, players, teammates and fans 19 years of great memories.

Mark Madsen
Mark Madsen is the head basketball coach at Utah Valley University. He played nine years in the NBA (2000-2009) as a member of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He began coaching in 2009 for the NBA G-League and eventually returned to the LA Lakers where he spent six seasons as an assistant. He married the former Hannah Harkness and the couple has two young children.

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