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“Slug Him With an Uppercut to the Jaw”: When Shaquille O’Neal Started a Brawl Between Orlando Players

Sourav Bose

"Slug Him With an Uppercut to the Jaw": When Shaquille O'Neal Started a Brawl Between Orlando Players

The multilayered NBA journey of Shaquille O’Neal makes him a one-of-a-kind contributor to the league’s history. His 2011 memoir, Shaq Uncut provided a holistic glimpse into his colorful career as the 4x champion reflected on his 19-year-long actions. One such episode of the autobiography shed light on his controversial Orlando Magic days as Diesel admitted to starting a brawl between the players. The 51-year-old mentioned that during his initial years with the franchise, the major part of the roster was divided into two groups based on hobbies.

The Shaq-led clique consisted of Dennis Scott, Nick Anderson, and Brian Shaw as they shared a similar set of off-court interests. Scott Skiles, the team veteran, spearheaded another group comprising Jeff Turner, Greg Kite, and Larry Krystkowiak. Ironically, it seemingly divided the entire squad based on race, which O’Neal emphasized was not the case at all.

After all, the author-led group admittedly enjoyed partying which Skiles’ side used to avoid. The former members once even flew from Seattle to Los Angeles to satisfy their purpose. Eventually, the organization had to pay the price for it as they lost their following NBA game to the hosts Los Angeles Clippers.

The series of events rightfully infuriated the then-head coach as he made the entire roster run during the consequent training sessions. Skiles reportedly utilized this opportunity to criticize the O’Neal-led young core, stating, “All you damn guys do is party”. Despite the truthfulness behind the statement, its repetitiveness angered Shaq as he ordered the veteran to “shut the hell up,” paving the way for a brawl,

“All of a sudden the son of a bitch came right for me…He’s charging me so I’ve got no choice—I gotta slug him with an uppercut to the jaw. You know my rule: Don’t wait for someone to hit you. Next thing I do is put him in a headlock because if I have to hit him again I might hurt him, and that wasn’t what I planned on doing when I showed up to practice that day,” the Big Aristotle revealed.

Soon after that, the members of both groups voluntarily got involved leading to Hill calling off the practice. The aggressiveness and fearlessness of the 1990s basketball hence came to the forefront momentarily in the Magic training. Yet, in the end, the sportsmanship prevailed as the players refused to hold grudges against each other.

This has been a recurring theme in the journey of Shaquille O’Neal

A year before entering the NBA draft, Shaq had taken a similar stance to defend his LSU teammate. The situation circled his friend Clarence Caesar’s involvement with the girlfriend of one of the football players of the college. While spending time in the cafeteria, the 7ft 1″ star became aware of the football team’s plan to beat up Caesar for his actions while Diesel decided to defend him.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Initially, the New Jersey-born aimed for a solution through conversation, which the football team deemed as disrespectful. As a result, the basketball star hit their leader, Anthony Marshall, sparking a brawl. This led to a series of violence leading to the eventual involvement of law enforcement officers,

“I punched him [Marshall] in his face…Then I ran back downstairs…Five minutes later, the whole football team was after me, chanting, ‘We want Shaq! We want Shaq!’…Me and him started fighting again. Then the cops showed. When the football players started beating up the cops, I snuck out the back and hightailed it to my girlfriend’s house,” he later recalled.

This just serves as an extension for providing context to the randomness of his endeavors. He was born with an innate ability to lead and defend his close ones. This aspect has remained intact throughout his NBA career, further justifying his actions during the Magic days.

Post Edited By:Hitesh Nigam

About the author

Sourav Bose

Sourav Bose


Sourav, a seasoned NBA journalist at the SportsRush, discovered his profound love for basketball through the brilliance of Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors. With over 600 articles in his career, he has established himself as a dedicated and prolific writer in the field. Influenced by 'The Last Dance' documentary and the anime 'Slam Dunk,' Sourav's passion for basketball is marked by insightful observations and a comprehensive understanding of the sport's history. Beyond his role as a journalist, he delves into the strategic dimensions of sports management and explores literature in his spare time, reflecting a well-rounded approach to his craft. Sourav's journey is characterized by a commitment to unraveling the intricacies of basketball and sports in general, making him a reliable source for NBA enthusiasts and a seasoned observer of the sports landscape.

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