Shaquille O’Neal attributes his well-natured manner to his step-father and said seeing Julius Erving dunk made him want to be in the NBA.
Shaquille O’Neal, in 2021, is known as one of the greatest to have ever stepped foot on NBA hardwood. Everything from regular season MVPs to Finals MVPs, the Lakers legend’s resume is stacked to the brim with accomplishments. He used the success he garnered during his 19 playing seasons to build an empire from various endorsements ranging from the Carnival cruise ships to pregnancy tests.
However, prior to the on and off court success, Shaquille O’Neal lived a humble life with his mother and stepfather (a man who he quickly accepted as his father) and his two sisters and brother. As told by the NBA legend himself, due to money being tight, Philip Harrison would take up several jobs ranging from state to state or even in different countries, like Germany.
In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Shaq talked about his relationship with his stepfather and the moment he realized he wanted to be an NBA player.
Shaquille O’Neal describes the moment he realized he wanted to be in the NBA.
During the heartfelt interview with Bensinger, Shaquille O’Neal revealed how tight his relationship with his stepfather was. So much so that he would refer to him as his actual father. Shaq also said that on one particular Christmas morning, he was gifted an autographed ball, signed by Julius Erving, who was his favorite player at the time.
While talking about Erving, he recalled the time him and his dad went to a Knicks game and around the nosebleeds section of the area. It was from here that he saw Dr.J throw down one of his iconic baseline dunks and according to him, was the moment he decided to straighten himself out and focus on making the league.
Fast-forward a few decades and it’s safe to say that Shaquille O’Neal did well on his promise to provide for the entirety of his family through basketball and several other ventures.