Throwback to When Young Shaquille O’Neal Punched His Opponent During AAU Game and Faced Serious Repercussions

When Shaq lost his cool and punched his opponent in the face, the repercussions were severe, but this candid moment sheds light on the NBA legend’s fiery temperament before his dominance.

Updated on Apr 08, 2024  |  02:33 AM IST |  51.2K
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Known for his kind and friendly nature, Shaquille O'Neal is among the most beloved and respected sporting personalities in the world today. However, the 2016 HOF inductee often found himself in troublesome situations in his teenage years. 

One such instance occurred during an AAU game in which one of Shaq's opponents kept fouling him hard despite multiple warnings. Frustrated, Shaq voiced his concerns to the young hooper, who soon discovered that messing around with Shaq Fu wasn't a bright choice. 

After another rough foul, the 6 '11 center had seen enough and connected with a picture-perfect punch, which not only silenced the brash hooper but left everyone in attendance utterly shocked. 

Upon reviewing the incident, the AAU was pissed as they didn't appreciate such irresponsible behavior and decided to kick Shaq out of the program. Shaq described the incident in detail in his 2011 Book Shaq Uncut: My Story.

"We were playing a team from the state of Washington, and this guy kept fouling me really hard. I told him he shouldn’t do that again, but he did, so I turned around and I punched him in the face. The AAU people didn’t like that so much, so they kicked me out. Permanently. I messed up that kid pretty bad, so they sent me home."

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After the incident, Shaq was worried about receiving a harsh response from his stepfather, Philip Harrison, a drill Sergeant in the United States Army. Sergeant Harrison took discipline and respect very seriously and ensured his kids adopted those same principles and lived up to them. 

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Had he learned about Shaq's reckless behavior, Shaq would've been taught a serious lesson. Luckily for the 4x NBA Champ, the news of the incident never reached Sergeant Harrison. He added: 

"Luckily for me, my father wasn’t there. He was in training for a couple of months, so he was out of town for a while and he never found out about it—until now. Sorry, Sarge."

Though Shaq managed to avoid any confrontation over this incident, his stepfather regularly disciplined him for his immature and incautious antics. 

Shaquille O’Neal Was Notorious in His Younger Days

On the first episode of his The Big Podcast, Shaq recalled one of his many notorious tales in a fun conversation with guest Adam Lefkoe. One time, Shaq and his friend stole M&Ms from a store and somehow managed to avoid being caught by the police. However, upon returning home, Shaq's stepfather sensed something amiss and wasted no time in setting the record straight. 

"What the hell yall been doing? Empty your pockets. Where the f**k you'll get some M&Ms from?" 

Shaq with his Stepfather Phillip Harrison (Source: Getty Images)


Being caught by his stepfather turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the 2000 MVP, as an arrest would've been an embarrassing blemish on Shaq's early life. But despite becoming a successful entrepreneur and businessman, trouble has managed to follow him. 

In December 2022, Shaq was revealed to be one of the big time endorsers in the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange company FTX which was involved in $10 Billion fraud. 

After having evaded authorities for months, the Inside the NBA analyst served papers in Miami, where the Heat faced off against the visiting Boston Celtics during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. At the moment, it seems like the big man has avoided serious troubles. 

ALSO READ: When Shaquille O’Neal got Angry at Koke Bryant for Wearing Michael Jordan Jersey. 

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