Every parent has a role in shaping the future of their kid. Shaquille O’Neal was brought up to be a dominant big man, and he did exactly that.
Shaq was born to a single mother Lucile, who was trying hard to make ends meet. Lucile met Sergeant Philip A Harrison as Shaq got a little older. The couple would bring up Shaq to be a naughty, bubbly boy but with a desire to shine everywhere.
It was this desire to shine and impress his father, who loved basketball, that motivated Shaq to truly devote his time to improving his craft. The big man wasn’t nearly as big as he became during the pros back in high school. But he was still way too much for ordinary high schoolers to handle.
Shaq also set a different kind of tone when it came to power dunks and demoralizing opposition defenses with his moves. It was his ability to take contact and finish powerfully through it like no one else in NBA history that makes him the Big Shamrock.
There’s no doubt that Shaq is absolutely the most dominant player in league history other than maybe MJ and Wilt.
“First time my dad said ‘Good game’ to me was after my first championship”: Shaquille O’Neal
This competitive, dominant streak within Shaquille O’Neal was something nurtured carefully by his father. Sergeant Harrison spent Shaq’s childhood tutoring him on the moves of the 3 greatest big men ever – Bill Russell, Wilt and Kareeem.
Sgt Harrison set such standards for Shaquille O’Neal that practically nothing Shaq did in High School would impress him. Talking to Q-Rich and D-Miles on the Players’ Tribune, Shaq revealed the first instance when he received a compliment from his dad:
“I break that rim, he ain’t smiling or nothing, he’s just looking at me like (gestures). So the next game, he looked at me, and I’m like ‘OK! What about this one? What about this one? (signaling more power dunks).”
“First time he told me ‘Good game!’ was after my first championship. Because he loved the game, he wanted perfection. So if I had 50 points, he’d be like ‘You should’ve had 60! You missed 10 free throws.'”