After Shaquille O’Neal parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers, he moved to Miami to play alongside Dwyane Wade. O’Neal claimed he was impressed after watching Wade on TV in his book Shaq Uncut. So, when O’Neal joined the Miami Heat, he claimed he taught the 6ft 4″ shooting guard how to carry himself and act like a star. O’Neal also boasted of giving DWade enough space to succeed.
O’Neal’s time with the Lakers was bittersweet. The three-peat and the MVP award made his time fruitful and likely established him as a legend of the game. However, his nasty public feud with Kobe Bryant and his subsequent trade to Miami certainly hurt him.
Shaq naturally wanted things to be better between him and Wade. He wanted to play alongside Dwyane without going through the stress of another petty cold war. So, to make amends for his past mistakes, Diesel decided he would behave differently with Wade.
Shaquille O’Neal claimed he taught Dwyane Wade how to act like a star
Shaq’s 2011 book was an intimate window into the life of one of the greatest basketball players in history. O’Neal went into great detail while writing about his career trajectory and all the facets of his time in the NBA.
His time in Miami alongside Dwyane Wade, though not as prominent as his time in LA, was still as important. After all, Shaquille O’Neal won his 4th championship alongside Wade.
In his own words, Shaquille O’Neal prepared it by doing two things. Firstly, he decided to give the Flash enough space to perform and grow. Secondly, O’Neal taught his star teammate how to bring a certain swagger to his personality. This included lessons in how to walk and talk like a certified star.
O’Neal in Shaq Uncut wrote: “I was watching DWade on television one day and I said, “This kid could be special. He just needs somebody out there to give him some more room.” So that’s what I did—I gave him space on that court to operate, to do his thing. Off the court I tried to teach him some flash—talked to him about swagger, about walking and talking like a star, doing the commercials”
O’Neal outdid Bryant after leaving the Lakers
Shaq’s approach to handling Dwyane Wade clearly worked in his favor. Where Kobe struggled to keep the Lakers in shape, the Miami Heat pushed through. Finally, in 2006, Diesel left his former teammate behind in the championship department.
The Miami Heat won the 2006 NBA Finals, the first in the franchise’s history. The 4th title of O’Neal’s career meant he left Bryant in the dust. Shaq would remain ahead of Kobe in the rings department until 2009. Likely the happiest time in Shaq’s career.