Shaquille O’Neal rarely touches alcohol, and there’s a pretty crazy reason behind that decision. Indeed, as the Big Diesel told it a few years ago, his stepfather had had a drastic reaction after seeing him drink a beer at 13 years old. Enough to pass the envy to the Hall of Famer!
This could be seen on the courts, especially in his prime: with his 150 kilos of weight, Shaquille O’Neal obviously didn’t have the healthiest food possible. Incredibly powerful, however, he was not all muscle and we can even talk about extra pounds at this stage, although he knew how to put them to very good use. Until recently, he stuffed himself with fast food and sweets, before starting a big physical transformation.
On the other hand, if there is an area in which the Big Diesel has been beyond reproach throughout his career, it is that of alcohol. It’s simple, seeing the big man drunk was simply extremely rare. It must be said that the person concerned had a very good reason not to touch the bottle: his mother, to whom he has always been extremely attached, has long had to fight against problems of alcoholism. Under these conditions, it is not surprising that he wanted to avoid the drink as much as possible.
Shaq’s dad’s brutal trick to make him hate beer
That being said, even if his relationship with his mother hadn’t been enough to dissuade him, there would always have been his stepfather to take care of it. Phillip Harrison, who served in the US Army, had indeed a very particular way of giving lessons to the young boy he was then. As he told in 2012 to Vanity Fair, ShaqFu was notably caught once drinking when he was not even a teenager yet. The rest, he still remembers it as if it were yesterday!
In fact, my dad caught me sipping beer with my cousins when I was, what, 13. So he made me drink a 12 pack at that time. Not only was I drunk, but I hated beer, and I never wanted to drink again.
The method is brutal, but it turned out to be oh so effective with regard to the Big Aristotle! The opportunity for the latter to discover that he really did not like it, and more.
A relief for his fans, because alcohol can sometimes have absolutely devastating effects on a player’s career. We think in particular of Vin Baker, great hope of basketball who saw his career be ruined by the bottle. The latter admitted during his time in Boston that he drank after almost every game, in order to forget what was generally a poor performance on his part. A very sad vicious circle, since it did nothing to put him back on his feet…
Not that on the side of the pivot, a character trait that he shared with Kobe Bryant. The latter had thus massacred a teammate who reeked of booze in practice, and we’re sure the Hall of Famer agreed. If he could maintain iron discipline on this, then surely O’Neal hoped the rest of his dressing room could follow suit. It’s always easier when it’s the franchise player who leads the way.
Forcing a 13-year-old boy to drink a 12-pack of beer in order to get him to never drink it again is invasive, to say the least. It worked for the Shaq though, who didn’t have a single drinking issue after that.