Shaquille O’Neal is a great personality with great charm, but once he had to justify his reputation after a brush in with Joe Exotic.
The former Lakers legend is currently one of the hosts of the famous ‘Inside the NBA’ segment on ESPN where he finds new and hilarious ways to discuss and analyze the NBA.
There have been countless stories of how Shaquille O’Neal has spent egregious amounts of money at once. He holds the record for the largest purchase in Walmart history amongst other things, and so he holds a reputation for being a big spender.
However, he’s also tried his hand at a few daring stunts. He appeared alongside Sean Evans on Hot Ones, and completed the Last Dab challenge with tears running down his face. He has also tried the Paki One Chip Challenge back in 2017 to more or less the same result.
Shaq’s exploits are pretty well known at this point, but there’s still one story that may shock you.
“Do you lick the beater?”
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) April 5, 2022
Shaquille O’Neal had to prove his innocence with Joe Exotic
Who exactly is Joe Exotic? Well, his real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and he used to be a former zoo operator. His life is also the storyline for Netflix’s docuseries ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.’
He was, however, later arrested for being an animal abuser. Carole Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, alleged that the animals Joe Exotic were looking after were treated abusively.
She also filed a case against Exotic for stealing Big Cat’s trademark and asked Joe to pay $1 million. However, he was unable to pay and later he was found to have paid $3,000 for a hitman to kill Carole.
Joe Exotic was also found guilty of illegally selling tigers and tiger cubs, and he also allegedly killed five tigers in 2017. On January, 2020, he was sentenced to 22 years of prison.
Shaq used to visit Exotic’s zoos as shown on the documentary, and he had to justify why he was there. “We’re there, and I dropped some donations for the tiger foods and all that,” O’Neal explained. “We take pictures with tigers. We went back a couple times.
“Then we go back another time, and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going, but I had no idea all that stuff was going on. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No, but I love tigers.”
“Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but again, I was just a visitor,” O’Neal also added. “I met this guy. Not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”
“Way to take the whole team down, @SHAQ” 🤣
The Diesel clears the air on his association with Joe Exotic, and Chuck still wouldn’t stop roasting him on the latest episode of ‘The Steam Room’ podcast. pic.twitter.com/cWjW1u6nF2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 10, 2020