NBA great Shaquille O’Neal recently talked about negative or insensitive articles written about athletes and how it can really affect one’s health.
O’Neal, who had a very solid relationship with the media during his playing days, mentioned he wasn’t spared from the criticism of sportswriters. But the best advice the “Inside the NBA” analyst ever received was don’t worry about what they think or their feelings, because they obviously don’t care about yours.
Last week his the “Big Podcast,” the four-time NBA champion got pretty candid about that particular subject.
“The guy that’s writing the article, he don’t care about your mental health or your mental fortitude. He don’t care!” Shaq said. “So when he puts it out, now you got his followers, 120 million people saying, ‘Is Shaq really worth this 120? He’s a helluva player, but down the stretch you can’t go to him.’ One of the most profound things my guy said to me was ‘If they don’t care why do you care?’”
Shaq is speaking of the Lakers signing him to a seven-year, $120 million deal to join them in 1996. At the time it was the biggest deal in the history of the NBA and it wasn’t that crazy for a writer to question the deal because O’Neal was the league’s worst free-throw shooter and teams would just foul him in the last few minutes of games. But as he also stated, he couldn’t care what someone wrote about him. Even if it was true, his job was to go out and bring the Lakers a championship, which he did in a three-peat from 2000-2002
"So in other words, I need to ease up on these people?"@SHAQ has an important conversation on athlete's mental health with @lizbcroft on #TheBigPodcast: https://t.co/D9QBCR4w9G pic.twitter.com/eYFFIX6AbU
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 29, 2022
Shaq Wants Athletes To Not Care About: Push Through It, Man Up
While discussing this topic, Shaq also voiced how he wants to see today’s athlete handle negativity from the media. Stop paying so much attention to people who don’t care about you.
Make time for your wellness or you’ll be forced to make time for your illness
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) July 27, 2022
“If I was an athlete I would have to go by the blueprint that was laid out for me: push through it, man up! Because guess what? We care, but nobody else cares.”
O’Neal wants players to protect their own mental health, because no one else will.
O’Neal Has His Own Battle With Mental Health:
During an April appearance on “The Pivot Podcast,” O’Neal got candid about his mental health following his divorce from ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal. He talked about how he was in a dark place, how he had it all and blew it.
Going Big today…and the conversation is even bigger🔥
— Pivot Podcast (@thepivot) April 19, 2022
“I had the perfect situation. Wife was finer than a mug, kept giving me babies, still finer than a mug. I had it all, and I don’t make excuses. I know I messed up. When I didn’t have that … I was lost. 76,000 square-foot house by yourself, lost. … You start to feel it.”
O’Neal has rebounded from that time in his life, but he’ll be the first to tell you it still stings.