Shaquille O’Neal says Shane Heal is the Australian he would have liked most to play with: ‘He’s tough and he’s a great shooter’


“First of all, my name is Shaq-a-dile Dundee. I’m Australian, mate.

NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal has only been in the country for a few days, but he’s already become familiar with our lingo.


“I know two words in Australian – ‘mate’ and ‘jumper’,” he says, showing off his Reebok sweater. “Because I know those two words, I’m Australian.”

The four-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP is currently in Australia ahead of the sold-out night with Shaquille O’Neal presented by The Hour Group and the Australian Basketball Player’s Association that sold out so quickly that Thursday, The August 25 event turned into a pay-per-view event screening on Main event and Kayo Sports.

ORDER: “An Evening with Shaquille O’Neal” on Kayo Sports

Despite the success of the bullring sale, the Diesel says any response from the Australian public “would have been great”.

“Sold out, ten people, five people. It’s very humiliating for a kid from the northern New Jersey projects to be known in Australia,” O’Neal said. NBA Australia.

It’s not the first time O’Neal has arrived on Australian shores – he was last there in 1993 – and his familiarity with Australian basketball dates back decades.

O’Neal remembers finding out how tough a small Sydney Kings player called Shane Heal was.

“I played against a few Aussies, my favorite was ‘Little Shane’ Shane Heal,” O’Neal said.

Shaq says the 1996 Olympics was when all American players discovered Heal.

“That’s when Shane left [’96 Olympics]”, O’Neal said.

“We knew a few players on the team but no one had heard of Shane Heal and he was working. That’s when they called me to ‘touch up’ him because I’m the ‘touch up “. I tried to hit him, he ducked and came down and hit some threes and was talking slam and I was like, ‘This kid can play.'”

It’s no surprise that when asked which Australian player past or present a Shaquille O’Neal would have liked to play with, the answer was ‘Little Shane’.

“Shane Heal,” O’Neal said without hesitation. “Shane Heal, because he’s tough and he’s a great shooter. He’s tough because he came down the hall one game and I tried to shoot him in the face and he wouldn’t stop. not to come back and that’s when I knew this kid had a heart.

O’Neal also knows the current generation of Australian players in the NBA. Famously, he had back and forth with the Nets’ Ben Simmons, but it was another Australian from Brooklyn who captivated the former Lakers star.

“I love Patty Mills,” Shaq says.

“I do not know him [personally] but he’s kind of like Shane – a little guy, you put him next to an NBA player and you look at him like that guy [Patty] not supposed to be there. Spurs have won a lot of games thanks to him. [He’s] a great shooter, a great player. I love Patty Mills.

“I think he did a fabulous job [representing Australia].”

Shaq’s tour of Australia is a whirlwind.

Between the two sold-out events, there will also be two DJ gigs – one in Melbourne and one in Sydney – under his name DJ Diesel.

DJ Diesel isn’t O’Neal’s first foray into music, however.

He performed on rap tracks with Notorious BIG and Michael Jackson, and has an RIAA-certified platinum plaque for his 1993 debut album. Shaq Diesel. But it is DJing that allows him to free himself from the daily stress of life.

“For real, whenever I’m mad, I jump in the car and drive around and think about what I’m going to do to a person. It usually takes a song to calm me down,” he says. “If I don’t have music when I enter a confrontation, [whispers] You’ll die. I don’t want you to die so I get in the car and forget about it and let it go.”

Since he’s taken so well to the country that already has a Big Pineapple, Big Merino, and Big Banana statue, could we see a Big Aristotle statue erected soon enough?

Shaq shakes his head.

“The Great Companion.”

And what would this statue look like?

“A black kangaroo,” says O’Neal. “All Black.”

ORDER: “An Evening with Shaquille O’Neal” on Kayo Sports