“Assumed Shaquille O’Neal Didn’t Want My Help!”: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Once Revealed Why Big Diesel Never Heard From Him

Raahib Singh
|Published January 11, 2023

Over the course of the years, the Los Angeles Lakers have had a lot of great players. They are one of the most successful franchises in the NBA, with 17 championships to their name. A lot of greats have contributed to their success. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant are just a few of the names responsible for making the Lakers great.

Shaquille O’Neal joined the Lakers in 1996. Signing with the storied franchise, Shaq expected to be included in the Lakers brotherhood. He thought greats such as Magic, Kareem, and more would help and guide him.

However, he received no words of advice from any of them. Instead, O’Neal was critiqued by the legends, and he had to figure out his own way to win. Shaq eventually did so, leading the Lakers to a three-peat from 2000 to 2002.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares why he never helped Shaquille O’Neal

When Shaq joined the Lakers, he assumed that he would get help. At the same time, other Lakers legends didn’t want to overstep their bounds and offer advice without being asked for. The same was the case with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In an interview with Mark Medina, he once clarified why Shaq received no help from him.

“As a pro I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn’t want my help. Additionally, I was never on the coaching staff of any of his teams. I was never unfriendly to him and I would talk to him, but Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision.

If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn’t need or want my help.”

This is quite saddening to hear. Neither Shaq nor Kareem took the first step and that prevented a beautiful relationship from forming.

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What did Shaq say about Kareem?

Over the course of the years, O’Neal has talked about how he didn’t receive any help from legends on the Lakers. Well, Kareem explained why it happened. However, right before Kareem’s interview, Shaq’s autobiography came out, where he had written,

“Instead, O’Neal said he tried to earn the respect of several elite centers by filming a Reebok commercial with Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bill Walton and ensuring that they received “a nice paycheck.” But O’Neal avoided pressing the issue with Abdul-Jabbar, who he contended was barely interested in making small talk during their encounters.”

Ensuring them a nice paycheck? Shaq was a rookie back then, and the names he’d mentioned were the All-Time Greats of the game. Sure, he earned a lot during his career, but writing it like this seemed a little arrogant.

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About the author

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A Computer Science Engineer by qualification, Raahib's passion for sports drew him toward TSR. He started playing basketball when he was 14, and fell in love with the sport ever since. His interest in the NBA developed at the same time as when Stephen Curry put the entire league on notice. Raahib was spellbound by Steph and the Warriors and has been a fan since. From starting off as a Warriors fan, Raahib has evolved into someone who can never miss a good game of basketball. He converts his love for the game and the knowledge he has gained into the articles he writes. In his spare time, he enjoys cricket, going for walks, and murder mysteries.

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