Everyone’s favorite TNT Halftime Crew made national headlines once again yesterday after Kenny “The Jet” Smith sent Shaquille O’Neal flying into a Christmas tree. “Kenny, this means war,” The Big Diesel said jokingly to Smith after his big fall. What if, however, O’Neal had already initiated the battle years ago during his playing days?
KENNY LAUNCHED SHAQ INTO THE TREE pic.twitter.com/WBltT8jflx— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 7, 2022
As long as he has been in the public eye, Shaq has been known to be a jokester. This extends to his off-the-court persona too, as he was an infamous prankster during his playing career.
Some of his more notable pranks include having former Orlando Magic teammate Brooks Thompson sing to him in the shower, putting Phoenix Suns teammate Gordan Giriček in a temporary stranglehold, and having his teammate restrain Lou Amundson so that he could cut off his luscious man bun.
At the end of the video above, O’Neal commented that, “every time [he] did something, it wasn’t in a foul nature. It was more like a funny nature.”
But that isn’t entirely true. On an episode of the Knuckleheads podcast, Tyronn Lue told a story of a time that O’Neal defecated in then-teammate Devean George’s shoe.
“So we’re getting ready for a game,” Lue tells the Knuckleheads podcast. “So Devean George went and worked out on the court and came back. He was getting taped or whatever. Shaq goes into the bathroom, takes his shoe in there. He sh*ts in his shoe. So Devean George comes in and gets ready for the game, puts his shoe on.”
So, yeah…not all his pranks were “of a funny nature.” And certainly, Shaq is known for being a big bully when things get serious on the court as well.
Anyway, maybe Smith was defending the honor of all his NBA brethren whom O’Neal bullied, and his shove was an act of retribution on their behalf.
More likely than not, that collision was probably just a playful gesture between two long-time friends. But one thing is for certain, O’Neal had this one coming.