Shaquille O’Neal says his son, Shareef O’Neal, told him to win the series against the Blazers in 2000; says he didn’t know his son could talk.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland TrailBlazers shared some postseason history with one another prior to their now iconic 2000 Western Conference Finals series. The Lakers had eliminated the Blazers from Playoff contention in both 1997 and in 1998, so it made sense that Mike Dunleavy and his Blazers would look to push them to their limit.
The Lakers would complete a wild 4th quarter comeback in Game 7 of this WCF series and the exclamation point on the victory for the purple and gold would be a lob dunk from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal. This brought the lead for the Lakers from 4 to 6; a deficit Scottie Pippen and company would never recover from.
This Game 7 took place on June 4th, exactly 21 years ago from today. The NBAonTNT crew would reminisce about this series and in doing so, brought about a hilarious revelation from Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaquille O’Neal claims he didn’t know his son could talk until before the Lakers-Blazers series.
Shaq let it be known on NBAonTNT last night that he was surprised at the fact that he heard his oldest son who was 2 at the time, say, “Daddy win,” to him ahead of the series between the Lakers and the Blazers. This of course, is made even more hilarious at the fact that the 4x champ claims he didn’t know his son could speak in full sentences.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 4, 2021
Kenny Smith would let him have it, calling him out on not only being unaware about not knowing that his son could speak, but also claiming that Shaquille O’Neal is lying. Ernie would back Kenny up on this, warranting a lighthearted physical interaction between Shaq and Kenny.
This sounds a bit far-fetched and it isn’t out of the ordinary for Shaq to concoct a story on the spot. He is notorious for whipping up a story about David Robinson back in the 90s about how the ‘Admiral’ would not give him an autograph when he was younger. It was later revealed by Shaq that he made the story up to feel a sense of competitiveness between the two.