Whenever Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson are together, you know there are going to be some great anecdotes from their Lakers days. A joint appearance on Monday night at an American Express event in New York did not disappoint. Jackson told a story about a time that Shaq took the floor for practice wearing nothing but his shoes, which had to be memorable and maybe a little bit traumatic for his teammates.
“Well, you know, numbers of times, he could crack a team up with humorous effects on the floor,” Jackson said. “There were times when he shocked us all in a practice situation, especially when he showed up nude with just his shoes on.”
Shaq responded that he didn’t remember this particular instance, but it sounds exactly like something he’d do.
The story, in addition to being hilarious and totally typical for peak-era Shaq, is a reminder of just how different the early 2000s were. Could you imagine a player doing this in the Twitter era? Even if there were no cameras around to capture it, word would get out immediately, because it always does, and the memes would be out of control. In the first part of the 21st century, that was just the kind of thing that could happen in practice and it would come out years later as a funny back-in-the-day story.