Shaq gets candid on divorce, regrets in podcast interview: ‘I was arrogant, I was dumb’

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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal opened up about his divorce in a recent podcast interview and got candid about the loneliness that followed afterward.

O’Neal and Shaunie O’Neal got married in 2002 while the former center was in the midst of his run with the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant. The two had four children before finalizing their divorce in 2011.


Shareef O’Neal poses with his parents Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase on Jan. 25, 2018, in Studio City, California.
(Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

“I was just being greedy. I had the perfect situation. Wife was finer than a mug. Kept giving me babies, still finer than a mug – I had it all,” O’Neal told Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor on “The Pivot Podcast.”

Shaunie O’Neal would file for divorce in 2009, citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to TMZ Sports. But Shaq said the blame was on him.

“I had it all, and I don’t make excuses. I know I messed up,” the Basketball Hall of Famer said.

O’Neal, who last played in the NBA during the 2010-11 season, said he felt “lost” and lonely after the divorce was over and his playing career was finished.


Shaunie O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's at L.A. Live on March 9, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Shaunie O’Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille’s at L.A. Live on March 9, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.
(Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

“No kids. You go to the gym, nobody’s playing in the gym. You go to their room, nobody’s there. You start to feel it,” he said. “As you get older and you hear ‘Shaq can’t Shaq no more’ and then you realize Shaq ain’t Shaq and you go from averaging 30 and 19 … I said to myself OK, you’re not married but you still have to protect and provide for this family. Get you’re a– up, man up, let’s go.”

O’Neal then revealed three major regrets he had during his career. He said the divorce was one of them as well as his frayed relationships with teammates Penny Hardaway and Bryant.

“Just because things you do make you seem like you’re perfect, you’re not perfect,” he said. “Big mistake in the Penny relationship. Big mistake in the Kobe relationship. Horrible mistake in both marriages. Other than that I don’t really dwell on a lot, but those things I really dwell on. Because one, I know better … I don’t like to make excuses, but I had a lot going on. I was arrogant, I was dumb, and sometimes when you do a lot of stuff you don’t want to work at stuff.

Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XIV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa on April 5, 2008, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XIV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa on April 5, 2008, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
(Michael Caulfield/WireImage)


“Those are the only three major regrets that I have. Everything else, I try not to dwell on. I’m glad that I’ve lived my life and I did it my way.”

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