Phil Jackson says Shaq used to show up to practice naked as a prank
Phil Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal reunited at an event in New York City Monday sponsored by American Express, and during their conversation the 13-time NBA champion revealed that O'Neal had a unique way of making his teammates laugh.
"Well, you know, numbers of times, he could crack a team up with humorous effects on the floor. There were times when he shocked us all in a practice situation, especially when he showed up nude with just his shoes on."
Shaq didn't provide a further explanation, but Jackson isn't the first coach to dish on O'Neal's nude antics. Former Suns coach Alvin Gentry said years ago that when Shaq played for the Suns, he would surprise teammates and coaches in the locker room by tackling them.
Via Sports Illustrated:
"The coach said 'every few days or every week or so' the big man would come barreling around a locker room corner completely nude and tackle a teammate or coaching staff member to the ground where he would roll around with them in what he called 'Brazilian naked wrestling.'"
Jackson also touched on the 2016 NBA Finals, and noted that his Bulls team made a comeback from an 0-2 hole in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Knicks, thanks to phenomenal performances by Michael Jordan. For the Cavs to have a chance, Jackson says LeBron James is going to have to elevate his game.
"It did something to Michael Jordan. You learned something about pulling the cape of Superman. It's not a good idea. He was a man possessed after that. I think it's going to take something for LeBron to step into that. Put his cape on and say, "I'm going to have to take over a lot of this series, doing the things beyond my level or my normal capacity.'"