Lakers: Phil Jackson Claims Shaq Once Came to Practice ‘Nude With Just His Shoes On’


Yes, you read that correctly. According to Lakers’ former head coach, Phil Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal had an interesting way of cracking up his teammates while in Los Angeles

Just last week, ex-Lakers’ big man, Shaquille O’Neal starred in a hilarious ad for Lyft posing as an undercover driver for unsuspecting customers, but now he’s back in the news for another reason entirely.

According to USA Today Sports, while in New York at an American Express event, Shaq and the Zen Master caught up with ESPN’s Hannah Storm “to open up about how champions are made in the NBA and how the Lakers became a dynasty again in the 2000s.”

However, the interview quickly took a turn for the better, or the worse depending on how you look at it, when “Storm asked Jackson how O’Neal’s fun-loving personality translated on the court.”

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"Well, you know, numbers of times, he could crack a team up with humorous effects on the floor. There were times when he shocked us all in a practice situation, especially when he showed up nude with just his shoes on."

After reading the short article, I had to do a double take, checking the internet for it’s validity but writer Charles Curtis seemed to presume this would happen, including another incident of Shaq’s nudist pranks as proof.

Apparently, while O’Neal was playing for the Phoenix Suns, he would do the same thing.

"Here’s what ex-Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said in 2014 about the center’s time in Phoenix (via coach said “every few days or every week or so” the big man would come barreling around a locker room corner completely nude and tackle a teammate or coaching staff member to the ground where he would roll around with them in what he called “Brazilian naked wrestling."

I don’t know about you, but getting tackled by a 7-foot nude Shaquille O’Neal sounds about one of the worst things I could possibly imagine. That said, reading about it is truly hilarious.

Having just watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary, This Magic Moment, it seems that Shaq is fully capable of doing the things described as he always enjoyed a good joke. Regardless, it is nice to see that retirement is treating Shaq well, as he grows more and more likable by the day, though the same can’t be said about some of his colleagues.

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If it turns out that this is just an extremely late April Fool’s piece, then shame on me, but man, is it funny nonetheless.