Derek Jeter is doing a phenomenal job with his sports platform, The Players’ Tribune, and recently a hilarious story was told by Phoenix Suns guard Leonardo Barbosa regarding Shaquille O’Neal running around naked outside of the locker room.
Here’s Barbosa’s unbelievable narrative…
“In 2008, you couldn’t get to the paint against our Suns team. Well, maybe you could, but you weren’t coming back. I’d be around the hoop when one of the opposing team’s guards would cut towards Shaq. He’d smack the ball out of their hands and across the court and yell at the dude. Shaq was a friendly giant one moment and the most dominant center of all time the next moment. Shaq could switch in an instant from friendly giant to the most dominating center of all time. And his opponents never knew which they would be facing at any moment. It was so fun to watch. It was so fun to watch. Shaq would yell:
‘If you come over here again … man. I swear to God, I’ll f*** you up. I will. I’ll f***ing do it.’
Next possession, the guard would cut for the paint, look at Shaq, and kick the ball right out.
Shaq was a scary dude, for sure. But once you see somebody naked, you just see a different side of them. You ready for this story? You’re not ready.
It’s a game day, early in the afternoon. Shaq picks me up because we’re both heading to the trainer’s room to get some work done before tip-off. We get to the locker room, take our clothes off and go over to the rehab room. But the trainer isn’t there. We wait 15 minutes. We’re all there in towels, just sitting around waiting. Shaq is kind of upset at this point. So he takes off his towel (not sure why) and heads down to our trainer’s office. He opens the door and is like, ‘Are you coming? Or am I going to have to pick you up and take you?’
At first, the trainer can’t tell if Shaq is joking or not. Shaq takes a few steps closer and our trainer knows he’s not. So the trainer takes off — sprinting down the hall. Shaq follows him, of course. Still butt-ass naked. Now Shaq is in a dead sprint down the hallway, running past arena workers and other staff, screaming at the top of his lungs. This is a normal business day. It’s a weekday.
Everyone is in official Suns gear or in suits. Shaq is in his birthday suit.
Just picture that, if you dare.
Future Hall of Famer, one of the greatest big men to ever play the game of basketball. And here he was, naked, chasing our tiny little trainer through the arena halls. I think the chase lasted 15 minutes. Which is a long time for the Big Nude Cactus to be loose in the arena.