Shaquille O’Neal’s quip about being paid during his days as a college basketball player was too close to what some believe to be true.
O’Neal on Tuesday denied receiving payment from Louisiana State University during his college basketball years. The basketball legend told The Advocate’s Sheldon Mickles he was joking when he said “LSU paid very well” during a Los Angeles Lakers event the previous day.
“You guys know I’m the life of the party, so I had to pick it up,” O’Neal told Mickles. “So every question they asked me, I had to give them a funny response.
“I was on the stage and a guy asked, ‘How was your time at LSU,’ and I said, ‘Yes, they paid me very well,’” he said. “The crowd went crazy. … It was a joke.”
O’Neal’s comments about being paid predictably drew plenty of attention. The Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan presented them ambiguously in a recap of the Lakers’ annual “All Access” event.
“O’Neal was laughing when he said it, but seemed to be speaking honestly when talking about his college career at Louisiana State. “Yes, they paid very well. Statute of limitations is up. I can talk about it.” Then he added, “Snitches get stitches … what can I say?”
O’Neal accused someone “with 82 (Twitter) followers” of deliberately twisting his words, according to Mickles. He then stood up for his and LSU’s reputations.
“Everyone knows LSU is the most honorable university … ever,” O’Neal said. “Everyone also knows I don’t sell my soul for anything.
“Everybody knows the relationship me and (former coach) Dale Brown have, and the love we share for each other. Something like that would never happen.”
So there you have it. LSU didn’t pay O’Neal that well, after all. The years he spent on campus from 1989 to 1992 were devoted to training himself to become an all-time great basketball player … and jokester.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@theadvocatebr
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