Shaquille O’Neal reflects on his time with the Miami Heat
NBA legend and former Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal took his larger-than-life personality to Sarasota on Wednesday as part of the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
There were myriad topics and stories Shaq told during his visit, including two centering on the Miami Heat.
O’Neal discussed former teammate Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour and what Wade’s legacy will be when his NBA career finishes.
And in true Shaq fashion, he brought humor into it when discussing D-Wade’s farewell tour.
“I’m super jealous, because I wanted a farewell tour,” O’Neal said. “Towards the end of my career, I was dreaming about that. I was dreaming about the gifts I would receive and all that stuff, but it didn’t happen. But I’m happy for him. His legacy is one of the top two guards to ever play in the game. Definitely has a lot of championships and does a lot for Miami, and I’m happy for him and his family.”
O’Neal also touched on how he was inspired to utilize the phrase, “to touch any of my cheese, you have to present me two degrees,” for his six children to gain any future inheritance. Forbes reported in 2016 that O’Neal’s net worth is more than $400 million.
The inspiration behind wanting multiple degrees from his children stemmed from his time with the Heat. O’Neal said there was an article about owner Micky Arison’s mother leaving his son — current Heat CEO Nick Arison — and daughter $200 million.
“So one day I’m in the locker room late practicing and the son that received $200 million is picking up dirty underwear,” O’Neal said. “I don’t have $200 million, but if I did I wouldn’t be picking up underwear. And then I saw this kid work from the bottom. He did that for a year. Worked in the training room for a year. Worked in the marketing department for a year. And he went to Duke. He was a graduate from Duke University. He had a degree and a Master’s from Duke University, but when he got back his father made him work from the bottom. So that was a very inspiring story. So I figured that nepotism is cool, but I like respectable nepotism. Because I lived in towns like L.A., where they just give it to their kids and you see those kids go out at 18 years old with Ferrari’s and just doing stuff they shouldn’t doing. So I tell my children all the time we’re not rich, I’m rich.”