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Shaquille O’Neal Hilariously ‘Stealing’ Kenny Smith’s 3 Y/o Kid Led to Their Beef in the Early 2000s

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Shaquille O'Neal Hilariously 'Stealing' Kenny Smith's 3 Y/o Kid Led To Their Beef In The Early 2000s

Before they became co-workers on Inside The NBA and subsequently, friends in real life, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith had disdain for each other. Their mutual dislike stemmed from Shaq’s hilarious shenanigans that involved Smith’s 3-year-old son. Before Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks, the TNT crew saw some throwback footage from May 2004 that made things clear.

In the clip, which was a recording of another post-game TNT broadcast, Smith explained that he had a problem with O’Neal ‘stealing’ his son, Kenny Smith Jr from school. In the Jet’s own words,

[Shaq’s] daughter and my son were in the same class. He used to pick up my son without telling me. So we had a problem from the beginning right there. I was like, ‘Yo, you can’t pick up my son, take him to get a haircut or whatever without me knowing.’ How are you gonna do that? So that’s where it all started.”  

O’Neal’s ‘kidnappings’ irked Smith, who took out his frustration by criticizing the Los Angeles Lakers superstar on Inside The NBA. The center took exception to the analyst’s criticism. This would, in turn, foster disdain within him against the former Rockets guard.

As a result, Shaq often claimed that Smith wasn’t on his level, and insulted the two-time NBA champion by saying he ‘sweeps the floor’ in TNT studios. Considering how cordial they are today, it’s difficult to imagine that the duo were so repulsed by each other back then.

However, Smith’s criticism gave Shaq a unique perspective on how players nowadays feel about what they say on the studio.

Shaquille O’Neal learns the harsh truth about being an analyst

After watching the footage, Shaquille O’Neal realized that he does the same thing today as an analyst which left him incensed back in 2004 as a player.

He said,

“I kinda understand what these players go through now. Because Kenny and Chuck (Charles Barkley) used to say some off-the-wall stuff [as analysts] that used to make me mad. So now, I can understand what these players go through when we ‘so-called’ criticize them.”

“I had to make up that whole G-14 classification thing because the Sarge (stepfather Phillip Harrison) and my momma always told me, ‘Baby, I know you are upset but in criticism, there’s always some truth,'” Shaq added.

O’Neal added that he started heeding to Smith and Charles Barkley’s advice eventually to improve his game. So, he indirectly credited his co-hosts and friends for helping him add to his already lengthy list of accomplishments.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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