“I’m Gonna Bust Your A**, Rookie”: Shaquille O’Neal Revealed How Patrick Ewing Disrespected him During Their First Encounter

Advait Jajodia
|Published 09/10/2022

The first time Shaquille O’Neal met Patrick Ewing, the Orlando Magic rookie didn’t have quite the interaction he thought the two would have.

Shaquille O’Neal was the talk of the town when he stepped foot onto the NBA hardwood back in 1992. Regarded as the “next big thing”, there were several established superstars who were jealous of Shaq at the moment.

Patrick Ewing was one of the many big men who felt threatened by the then-20-year-old. So much so that a 30-year-old Ewing decided to “punk” O’Neal in their first encounter ever.

Back in 2011, The Big Aristotle wrote a book called “Shaq Uncut”. In the book, the 7-footer detailed the moment he shared with “Big Pat” during the 1993 All-Star Game.

“I was a rookie with the Orlando Magic the first time I ever met Patrick,” O’Neal talked about this in his book. He adds “We were playing at Madison Square Garden, and my plan was to shake his hand and say, ‘Hello, Mr. Ewing,” but before I got the chance he punked me.” 

Talk about a disappointment. O’Neal continued “I went to shake his hand, and he wouldn’t. So I went to put my fist out and he hit me real hard on the knuckles. Then he said, ‘I’m gonna bust you’re a**, rookie.’”

Also Read: Was $400 Million Shaquille O’Neal Caught in 4k Lying About the Price of His $55,000 Bike?

Pat Riley made Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal play the same amount of minutes despite the latter being an All-Star starter

In only his first-ever season as a pro in the league, Shaquille was voted as an All-Star starter. O’Neal found it disrespectful that Pat Riley, the Eastern Conference coach, played him for the same amount of time as Ewing.

Recollecting the event, Shaq stated how it was the New York big man who went on telling everyone how “ridiculous” it was that O’Neal was named as an All-Star starter.

“Ewing was mad because everyone was talking like I was the Next Big Thing (which I was),” Shaq recollected. “I led the All-Star Game in votes in my first year in the NBA, and after that Ewing told some guys no rookies should be allowed to start in the game.

Naturally, Shaq was furious. He talked about how Pat Riley, the then coach of the Knicks started him because he had to but also gave him the same minutes as Ewing. This agitated the Orlando Magic center even more.

“I didn’t like that,” Shaq said. “I never really forgot it, I was voted in as the starter. Not Ewing. The fans wanted to see me. So give the fans what they want, right?”

Patrick Ewing was Shaq’s idol

While big men of that era wanted to be like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell, Shaq grew up imitating Patrick Ewing.

Despite starting their relationship on the wrong note, at various moments Shaq has spoken highly of Ewing. The former Lakers legend even honestly disclosed that he wanted to be like Ewing.

Shaq has talked fondly about how he chose to idolize Ewing instead of legendary big men like Bill Russel Kareem, Abdul Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain.

“One day, I was watching Patrick Ewing at Georgetown, big guy, mean, physical, throwing people around, running up the court. And I said, ‘Dad, I wanna be like that’

Who knew that Shaq would actually have a more decorated career than his idol?

Also Read: Does Shaquille O’Neal Have A PhD? What Field Did The Lakers Legend Earn His Doctorate In?

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Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia

Being a two-time national-level basketball player, NBA surely had my attention from a very young age. At age 20 now, I aspire to share the knowledge I gained over 11 years with fellow basketball-lovers through my articles!

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