Shaquille O’Neal has built an impressive empire. He’s long since been retired from the NBA but continues to thrive as a television personality and businessman. While he’s dropped many major keys throughout his career about his success, O’Neal recently revealed one of his biggest motivations is making sure his mother is never embarrassed or ends up on the streets. For that reason, he makes sure he’s always sober in public.
Shaq comes from a very close family. Born in Newark, NJ, to Lucille O’Neal and Joe Toney, Shaq’s father would struggle with drug addiction and eventually gave up parental responsibility of Shaq. His stepfather Phillip Arthur Harrison stepped in and helped raise him. Their family bounced around a bit due to Harrison being in the military and briefly lived in Germany. They eventually settled in San Antonio, TX. Shaq was tall at a young age, so his family knew he would be a good athlete. His biological father also played basketball before getting lost in drugs.
Shaq’s mother has always been very present and proud of her boy. When talking with the Today show several years ago, she discussed how blessed the family are and how she never loses sight of that. Lucille’s house is packed to the brim with memorabilia from throughout her son’s career, from posters to jerseys and old family photo albums. Early on, the whole family made predictions that Shaq would be the family superstar, and Lucille recalls how his grandmother said, “watch out for this one,” when he was born.
“It’s something special about that one,” his grandmother said. Lucille says that she was young and unwed, so she and Shaquille “grew up together.” She knew her son was special because of how easily things came together for them despite all of their obstacles. As the eldest of her four kids, Shaq also helped his mother raise the family. This fostered a strong sense of responsibility for him that he never lost sight of, especially once the success came in.
Shaquille O’Neal recently sat down with the fellas of Drink Champs to talk shop and discussed a lot of different topics. Amongst them, the men talked about why Shaq was taking shots of water instead of liquor like the rest of them. When N.O.R.E asks if he used to drink before, O’Neal explains that his public persona is very important to him and his family’s fortune.
“I do drink, but not in public. I can’t do nothing to jeopardize my mother’s empire.” He goes on to say that he does enjoy Patron and did have drinks following his various championships. “I’m not gone drink at a restaurant and jump in a car. My daddy always used to tell me, ‘if you mess the money up, ya momma ain’t gone have no house. You the one, God has chosen you.’ I drink at the crib but not at the show.”
Shaq said he is working on partnering with a liquor company but was coy about who for now.