“We’re not talking about spanking, we’re talking about a belt” Shaquille O’Neal reveals his complicated relationship with stepfather Philip Harrison

Every successful person has a long and interesting backstory. Even the undisputed NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has a tale to tell about how he became the dominant force he was on the court.

Shaq could dunk at will and even fake off his defender to get possession of the ball and drive unimpeded to the basket. But it was all thanks to his stepfather, who vowed to mold him into the greatest big man in history. This statement was revealed by the big man.

Compared to his stepfather, Shaquille O’Neal’s father, Philip A. Harrison, is a lot more relaxed. Since Shaq comes from a military background, he has learned a lot about responsibility and self-control. Sarge is the nickname that he and his family have given to his stepfather. Sometimes he would use physical punishment to teach Shaq a lesson.

When O’Neal was young, Harrison gave him a lot of advice and promised to turn him become the greatest big man of all time provided O’Neal accomplished all he requested. He was correct; Shaq eventually became a huge star.

Lucille O’Neal married Army drill sergeant Philip A. Harrison when the future Los Angeles Lakers great was barely two years old. In the beginning, Shaq was trained by his stepfather, whose military discipline and strictness permeated Shaq’s routines.

In an old interview, the big man stated, “He never hit me without cause, if it weren’t for him I’d be in prison right now because I was a wise guy, and I did the wrong things, and I was caught up with the wrong kids.”

O’neal is not just a basketball icon, but also an entrepreneur, DJ, singer, and author. Shaquille O’Neal wrote a book in 2011 titled Shaq Uncut in which he discussed being beaten up by his stepfather. He added, “We’re not talking about spanking, we’re talking about a belt.” 

The public’s reaction to the news was understandably shocked, but the NBA Great knows that his father’s actions were motivated by a desire to see him improve and protect him from negative influences.


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