5 Minutes with… Shaq

January 5, 2012 – Opening Day may still be a few months away, but we are already working diligently on the first few issues of Yankees Magazine for 2012, which includes the April edition.

That issue will feature two “5 Minutes with…” interviews with two basketball legends.

The first of those pieces features Shaquille O’Neal, who I sat down with on November 16 at the YES Network studios.

In the interview, Shaq talked to me about his new book, Shaq Uncut, along with his early days in Newark, New Jersey, and the differences between his on-court and off-court personalities.

“My on-court personality is an act.” the 7-foot-1 inch retired star said. “The NBA stands for “Nothing But Actors.” I try to do the same thing that Dr. J did for my father and I. It was hard for my father to afford to take me to a game, but when he scrounged together $40 and took me to a game, it was the best time of my life. When I saw all of the fathers who were struggling to pay their mortgages, but who wanted to make their kids happy by taking them to a basketball game, I wanted to give them a show that they would never forget.”

For me, the highlight of the interview came when Shaq interrupted himself to inquire about my 2009 World Series ring.

“Nice ring,” he said mid-sentence. “Can I wear it?”

Of course, I took the ring off of my finger and placed it in his giant hands. As you will see in the photograph below, Shaq could only fit the ring halfway down his pinky finger.

As he handed the ring back to me, he reiterated how special he thought it was, to which I said, “You have four championship rings.”

The future Hall of Famer responded.

“Yeah, but none of my rings have the Yankees logo on them.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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