The 15-time NBA All-Star took plenty of pounding during his career, but lately he has garnered attention for his physical comedy on the set of TNT's Inside the NBA.
DAN PATRICK:How did you fall last week on the set?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Usually I turn to the left to beat Kenny [Smith] to the board. The other day I turned to the right, and my leg got caught up in some cords.
DP:When you toppled into the Christmas tree last year, was that on purpose?
SO: No, Kenny pushed me. Once you get that 350 going in one direction, it's hard to make it stop.
DP:Was there a time you didn't want to be seven feet tall?
SO: When I was younger I wanted to be like all my friends who were guards. That's why I was a pretty good ballhandler.
DP:When's the last time you shopped for clothes at a normal store?
SO: All the time. I'm a Walmart guy.
DP:Do they have big and tall—or gigantic and tall?
SO: They have big and tall underwear, tank tops, T-shirts.
DP:What would you do if you were not a basketball player?
SO: I'd be a cop.
DP:Would you have been an actor?
SO: I would have tried to become an actor.
DP:If they did a remake, what movie would you like to be in?
DP:I'm surprised they didn't reach out to you about that.
SO: I went to see Avengers, and I said, That's me, the Hulk. Tearing stuff up.
DP:Which player entertains you the most?
SO: Stephen Curry. He doesn't have the normal NBA body, but he's the best player in the league.
DP:He's a baby-faced killer.
SO: Yes, he does have a baby face, baby arms, baby shoulders. I'm like, How's this little kid demolishing people? He's a joy to watch.
DP:Any word on Blue Chips 2?
SO: No. But there is word on Kazaam 2. I told them to call my office, and I didn't give them the number.
DP:How many sons do you have?
DP:Do they have game?
SO: Two do. One is a freshman starting on his high school team. He's way better than I was at 14.
DP:Who is their favorite player?
SO: When I asked them a couple of years ago, I expected [it to be] me, but they said LeBron James. At first I was hurt. But LeBron is a good guy to pattern your game after.
DP:In your other job—as a cop, in Doral, Fla.—do you pull people over?
SO: No, man, I'm a detective. I wear a suit and tie.
DP:Nobody knows it's you if you wear a suit and tie, right?
SO: You're right. They always say, "You look like...." I'm like, I hate Shaq—that dude didn't concentrate on his free throws.
Former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons ripped NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for his timing on Deflategate. "He knows the results before the report is released," said Simmons, "and yet he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to do anything until he gauges public reaction." ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly explained why umpire Paul Emmel ejected him on May 4: "He threw me out for being too animated. My wife says the same thing. If we're talking in the car and I use my hands, she says, 'Quit doing that. People will think you're yelling at me.'" ... Of all the A-list personalities at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight last week in Las Vegas, Don Cheadle had eyes for only one star. "I don't take pictures with celebrities," Cheadle told me. "But when I saw Jordan Spieth, I ran across the aisle to take a picture with him."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JENNY ANDERSON/FILMMAGIC/GETTY IMAGES (O'NEAL)
EDDIE PERLAS/ESPN IMAGES (SIMMONS)
CHARLIE NEIBERGALL/AP (MATTINGLY)
ANGELA WEISS/GETTY IMAGES FOR VARIETY (CHEADLE)