Shaq Clarifies Relationship With Joe Exotic Following ‘Tiger King’ Cameo


Mar 29, 2020

Shaquille O’Neal wants to set the record straight.

For those living under a rock, there’s a show on Netflix right now called “Tiger King,” and it’s kind of a big deal. Centered around former exotic animal zookeeper Joseph Maldonado-Passage (otherwise known as “Joe Exotic”), who currently is in prison, the show is absolutely ridiculous. It also is rather disturbing, especially for animal rights activists.

(You can click here to watch a trailer.)

Well, O’Neal, a noted big cat enthusiast who visited Joe Exotic’s Oklahoma zoo in 2014, made a surprise cameo on the show. Consequently, the NBA legend has faced significant criticism for seemingly supporting a controversial figure and equally controversial practice.

But, during the latest episode of his podcast, O’Neal clarified his relationship with Joe Exotic.

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that,” O’Neal said. “We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times.

“Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Added O’Neal: “I don’t harm tigers. I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Make of that what you will.

We’ll leave you with this clip of O’Neal visiting the “Tiger King” in 2014:

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Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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