If you’re eating while you’re reading this, you might want to look away now.
In a video with ESPN’s Henry Abbott, ex-Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry revealed that Shaquille O’Neal used to get naked and pounce on unsuspecting teammates and coaches in order to wrestle with them.
“When we got Shaq, when he was a Phoenix Sun, he was a guy who loved pranks and stuff. The thing that he did that he was notorious for was every few days or every week or so, he would decide that it was time for this Brazilian, naked wrestling contest,” Gentry said. “So, you wouldn’t know who the chosen one was, but what would happen when you least expect it, this seven-foot, 310 pound guy would turn the corner and he would be stark naked and he would run right at you full speed, grab you, take you to the floor and then he would do about five rollovers with you. He would always tell our trainers who it was going to be, so they were always prepared for it, but you never knew who it was going to be. Yes, I was a victim of this.”
In case it wasn’t clear before, this is exactly why Kobe Bryant and Shaq (and later Dwight Howard) didn’t get along. This kind of foolishness from a grown adult just didn’t sit well with Kobe who was all about working hard and winning.
I doubt Shaq ever tried to pull this stunt with Bryant. I also imagine that Phil Jackson, unlike Gentry, was never a victim of Shaq’s naked wrestling – I don’t think such a prank would sit too well with the Zen Master, though Gentry claims that “no one prevents Shaq from doing anything,” so who knows.
H/T to SB Nation