When you hear that Shaquille O’Neal is 7’2”, you think, “Wow, he must be really big.” Then you see him on commercials and in video games and you might mutter, “Eh, he’s not so bad.” Trust me. The man is huge.
But he’s also one of the nicer NBA players I’ve ever met. All it takes for me to explain this is by demonstrating the following exchange:
Me: “Hi, Joel Brigham with HOOPSWORLD, how you doin’ man?”
Most NBA Players: “Hey” or “Whassup” or “(inaudible grunt)” or absolute silence.
Now let’s see how Shaq responds, shall we?
Me: “Hi, Joel Brigham with HOOPSWORLD, how you doin’ big guy?”
Shaquille O’Neal, making eye contact and smiling: “Hi, Joel. It’s really nice to meet you.”
Then he cracked some jokes, had a few laughs, he touched my leg (okay, maybe not the last thing), and he was gone. But as things go for superstars, he was one of the cooler guys I’ve come across. Yes, his biceps are larger than most mortal toddlers. Yes, his head is literally so large it has its own gravitational pull. He wears a size 22 shoe for goodness sake. I’m not coming anywhere close to exaggerating when I say you could use those shoes as bassinettes for average-sized twin infants.
But his heart is bigger than all of those things. Cheesy? Perhaps. But true.