Jerry West choked out 325lbs Shaquille O’Neal after Lakers loss to Charles Barkley

Samir Mehdi
|Published September 08, 2022

Jerry West was livid at Shaquille O’Neal and his tantrums following a loss to the Rockets, leading to him grabbing him by the neck/collar.

In his final years with the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal got swept by Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets in the ’95 NBA Finals and then proceeded to lose to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1996. Clearly, O’Neal wanted a change in scenery and so looked out West, finding a suitor in the Los Angeles Lakers.

The man who recruited and subsequently was responsible for getting him to LA was none other than former Lakers superstar, Jerry West. West was the General Manager of the purple and gold at the time and he was also the one who orchestrated the draft night trade that would send Vlade Divac to the Hornets in exchange for Kobe Bryant, the 13th overall pick in 1996.

During Shaq’s 8-year tenure with the Lakers, he grew close with Jerry West. He even admitted to never having a problem with authoritative figures throughout his career, including West. Shaquille O’Neal even revealed West’s pitch to him that stated his name would be in the rafters like Kareem if he ‘did it the right way’.

Also read: “You know how I made $900 million?”: Shaquille O’Neal discloses to two little kids the secret to his fortune 

Shaquille O’Neal on how Jerry West handled him after the 1999 Playoffs.

The Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by Charles Barkley and the Houston Rockets in the 1999 Playoffs, leading to Shaquille O’Neal becoming livid at yet another postseason disappointment. According to him, he tore up a bathroom, removing several urinals from the wall.

As Jerry West was coming into the locker room to talk to his team, he heard the commotion coming from the immediately. While on the Graham Bensinger show, Shaq revealed that West grabbed him by the collar and told him about how he’d lost in the NBA Finals 7 times before he won one (1972 Lakers).

Mind you, Shaq has is nearly a foot taller than West and easily has 100+ pounds over him. this didn’t stop ‘The Logo’ from physically disciplining him.

Of course, it would all work out well for Shaquille O’Neal as the Lakers would go on to win a championship the very next year. And the year after that. And then the year after that.

Also read: $400 million Shaquille O’Neal turned Phil Jackson’s backyard into a trampoline show

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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