Shaquille O’Neal received wise advice that helped him throughout his storied basketball career.
The former LSU and NBA star spoke with For The Win’s Alysha Tsuji for a post published Thursday, and O’Neal revisited his time on the court in a fascinating way. After being selected first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft, he became a four-time champion and a 15-time all-star during his run in the league from 1992 to 2011.
As part of the question-and-answer session with Tsuji, O’Neal was asked about the best basketball advice he received. He went deep with his response.
“Best basketball advice I have ever received is pressure is when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from,” O’Neal told For The Win. “If you walk around the streets and see a homeless guy, that’s pressure. When you get paid millions of dollars to play ball, shouldn’t be any pressure. My father told me that, he took me out on the street and we had a conversation with a homeless family. I was like I’m just a spoiled brat right now. This is pressure, so that’s the best advice I’ve ever received.”
That advice extends beyond basketball, for sure. It’s always fun to hear about the influences and inspirations that shaped notable athletic careers. O’Neal learned how to handle the pressure of being one of the NBA’s most recognized stars. Along the way, he gained maturity as he developed as a professional.
Many young stars — within the NBA and other professional leagues — would be smart to keep O’Neal’s words close.