“Taught me to be mentally strong, never to complain and not to be a cry baby with everything at my disposal”

Shaquille O’Neal was one of many NBA legends who paid tribute to the late Bill Russell. O’Neal showed his gratitude to Russell for paving the way for him and the rest of the league. The LA Lakers legend also revealed all the lessons he learned from the 11-time champion.

In an interview with Bryan Alexander of USA Today, O’Neal was asked about his relationship with Russell. The four-time champ explained that he knew the Boston Celtics legend was a great man. However, he went on to have personal conversations with Russell, who taught him a lot about life.

“I grew up knowing Bill Russell was a great man,” O’Neal said. “But I didn’t know until I talked to him how great. He couldn’t stay in the same hotels as his (white) teammates, people would write him harsh words. Back then, he never made the kind of money I make , but never complained.”

“These conversations taught me to be mentally strong, never to complain and not to be a cry baby with everything at my disposal.”

O’Neal also spoke about the time he failed to buy Russell’s memorabilia at an auction. Russell put up two of his championship rings, as well as his Hall of Fame ring among others, for sale last year.

Shaq vowed to buy them all after hearing about it. However, he came up short because he did not want to go through the whole process of making bids.

“No, I was too late. I didn’t want to go through the auction process,” O’Neal said. “I wanted to find out who was in charge and make an offer you can’t refuse and buy everything. But they kept making me go through this auction process and by the time the (auction catalog) came, and I picked my item numbers it was a day too late.”

Shaquille O’Neal recently shared the lessons he learned from “The Sarge”

Shaquille O'Neal at the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight
Shaquille O’Neal at the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight

“The Sarge” Philip Harrison was one of the most important people in the life of Shaquille O’Neal. Harrison was O’Neal’s stepfather who helped him at an early age throughout his NBA career and well into his retirement.

On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast,” O’Neal revealed that Harrison taught him how to be grateful and humble after complaining about pressure. The former MVP was feeling the pressure of playing in New York when his father took him to a homeless family.

“My father, one day after a game I went home and I said, ‘Hey man, I couldn’t handle the pressure in New York,'” O’Neal said. “He was upset, takes me in the car early next morning and we watch a homeless family. Family that he used to take care of.

“He said, ‘I don’t ever want to hear you say you can’t handle the pressure again. You spoiled MF brat, you got a big house, you got cars, you fly private, I don’t want to hear that. Pressure is when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.'”

Shaquille O’Neal has reached the pinnacle of basketball and in life. He learned a lot of lessons from his parents and peers. He continues to make money, but also does not forget to give back to his community, and to even random people whenever he’s out.

Edited by Juan Paolo David


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