Even Shaquille O’Neal, one of the greatest centres in NBA history, had a quality that annoyed Jack Nicholson. The Los Angeles legend served as the Lakers dynasty’s impetus in the 2000s. He and Kobe Bryant were a dynamite pair that made him the star of a team that won three straight championships.
Back then, Shaq could be stopped by no one. He was the strongest player to ever play basketball. He was the best inside player ever. At both ends of the field, Shaq was a threat. His bulk allowed him to exert control over the paint, discouraging anyone who attempted to enter.
Since Shaq’s heyday, nobody has dominated the inside game quite like he does. He was a true beast to watch back then. Shaq’s ability to make free throws was one of his few weaknesses. Shooting free throws was the biggest thing he was unable to master.
Shaq missed 4.4 free throws on average per game throughout his career, totaling 5,317 missed opportunities. His 52.7% free throw success rate was pitifully low. Nicholson lost his cool in 2003 about this frailty. He was watching a Lakers game when Shaq got his third foul and started to yell at the referee.
NBA News: The “Hack-A-Shaq” Strategy
The “hack-a-Shaq” strategy was clearly aimed at the $400 million actor, but he refused to take part. Nicholson likely paid the standard rate for courtside tickets, which can cost up to $10,000, and he nearly spent it all.
He said, "I paid a lot of money for this seat." You can't tell me to sit down; this is the NBA." Refs said they would have had to remove him from the arena if he had come out onto the court.
NBA players frequently go on to have illustrious careers. Over the years, athletes like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others have also developed into major celebrities.
But despite their fame, they occasionally have star-struck moments themselves. In fact, O’Neal, who was mentioned above, once called a timeout while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers because he saw Halle Berry in the crowd.
Shaq played for the Lakers for eight of his 19 NBA seasons, which allowed him to play in front of a lot of A-listers. At the Staples Center, celebrities like Jack Nicholson frequently sit courtside, which probably adds to the pressure on the athletes participating in the game that night.
O’Neal Took Part in a Lot of Notable Games
Throughout his career, O’Neal took part in a lot of notable games. He won four titles, so he probably still remembers some of those postseason games. But he also developed great memories of a game at Madison Square Garden.
Halle Berry is heading down the stairs as I’m at the free-throw line and I’m looking at the stairs, O’Neal stated to Clarkson. “My heart began to race; I got anxious.” However, O’Neal didn’t merely try to hit the free throw by calming down and ignoring his nerves.
He sounded the timer.
What are you doing? I asked Phil [Jackson]. I told her to stop talking because Halle Berry was watching. "Make sure I grab the ball because nobody shoots," he remarked. "Look what I came up with. In fact, I made the free throw.When I made the free throw, I [winked] at Halle while doing so.
One of the worst free-throw shooters in history was O’Neal. If Halle Berry had attended every game, perhaps he would have performed better. We’ll never know, but Shaq has also become a superstar like Berry.