Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest athletes to come through LSU.
Just don’t ask him any questions about Nick Saban.
O’Neal said he thinks the former LSU coach and now four-time national champion at SEC West rival Alabama should still be in Baton Rouge, La., on a recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, explaining the LSU brass should have opened up their wallets even wider to keep Saban around.
“We had him at LSU first,” Shaq said. “If we would have paid him the money, that would be us right now. Everything’s about money.”
That’s inevitable when it comes to sports sometimes.
However, Saban signed a seven-year deal worth $2.3 million annually in 2004 with LSU, which made him the highest-paid college football coach at the time, which was soon after leading the Tigers to a BCS national championship.
A year later, the Miami Dolphins upped that offer, extending Saban a contract that paid him $4.5 million per year to lure him to the NFL.
Saban followed the money, but Shaq blamed his alma mater for not instead offering a raise.
“I am LSU. Love Shaq University. I know everything that goes on on those grounds,” O’Neal said. “If the Dolphins offered him six (million) and LSU came back and said ‘Hey, we’ll offer you 10,’ what do you think he going to do?”
Well, that’s certainly a question for the ages.
We all know the story, though.
After a short and relatively unsuccessful stint in Miami, Saban returned to the college ranks at Alabama. Earlier this month, he led the Crimson Tide to their fourth national title in his tenure.
By the way, Saban remains college football’s highest-paid coach, earning more than $7 million per year in his current contract with the Crimson Tide.