The four-time NBA champion, Shaq O’Neal has been through a tough childhood, however, learning is a path he didn’t unfollow.
In a recent interview with People, the player tells his life journey from the kid who strove to fit in, to the man who today regrets missing out on his time with children.
Belonging to a military family, they frequently kept on moving and he kept on switching schools. O’Neal claims that when he was in school he was a badass, he used to beat kids up and make his name up the way. At this time, he was a serious, high-level juvenile offender who had almost killed a child.
However, after this incident he changed his tactics to fit in, the actor says, “I shifted everything into becoming the class clown. Just to make people like me. It was [another] mechanism for [dealing with my insecurity]. I wasn’t a leader yet. I was a follower on the wrong path.”
Once he began to play, his old strategies returned, and he believed that his anger was his strength in the game. The player says, “After a bad game, especially if it was my fault, missed my free throws, I’d go crazy,” he says. “I’d tear the house up. I was the Hulk.”
However the Hulk transformed one last time when seeing his children, O’Neal claims, “As soon as I saw my children’s faces, I could transform,” he recalls. “You come home, and they don’t care about any of that. Forty points? It’s ‘Hey, Daddy!’ Two points? ‘Hey, Daddy!'”
Shaq is available to watch on HBO Max on November 23.