The NBA has been a hotbed for controversy in recent years, with players like Lebron James and Kevin Durant taking to social media to voice their opinions. In an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion, Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry was asked about the idea that God is black. Curry responded by saying “I think God is all of us.”
God? God Is a Black Man? is a book written by David Hajdu. The book discusses the idea of a black god in a time when racism was still prevalent in America.
Shaquille O’Neal was one of many NBA fans who grew up idolizing Julius Erving before becoming a household figure. Dr. J inspired Shaq to pursue a professional basketball career, and he considers the Philadelphia 76ers icon one of the best players in NBA history.
So when O’Neal had the opportunity to meet his hero for the first time, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Because of Julius Erving, Shaquille O’Neal aspired to be an NBA player.
Julius Erving and Shaquille O’Neal attend the Zo and Magic 8-Ball Challenge in 2006 | Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic.com/Getty Images Julius Erving and Shaquille O’Neal attend the Zo and Magic 8-Ball Challenge in 2006.
O’Neal wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life when he was younger. The New Jersey native has always liked basketball and has watched it since he was a kid, but he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to grow up to be an NBA player.
That was until Erving had a change of heart.
To watch his favorite player, Dr. J, O’Neal went to a game between the Knicks and the 76ers with his stepfather, and a single dunk was enough to inspire Shaq to seek his own NBA career.
“Dr. J goes baseline, tosses it down, and the audience erupts in applause. That’s when I thought, ‘OK, that’s what I want to do,’” O’Neal recalled in 2015 on an edition of Graham Bensinger’s In Depth With Graham Bensinger. “I’m a different person now. From that day on, no more juvenile delinquents, improved academic performance, and remained out of trouble. I’d always wanted to be a rapper, but when Dr. J went baseline and the audience went wild, I was like, “I want that.” People should shout my name.”
And that’s precisely what they did when Shaq’s NBA aspirations came true.
When Shaquille O’Neal first saw Julius Erving, he believed he died and gone to paradise.
Growing up, O’Neal admired Erving, and if it hadn’t been for that Dr. J dunk many years ago, he may never have made it to the NBA. Shaq had the opportunity to meet Dr. J a few years later while playing at LSU, and his response was hilarious.
During a public speaking engagement recorded by MassLive in 2016, he recounted the tale.
Meeting Dr. J was one of my fantasies… True story: he once awoke me in my college dorm room. Seriously. I was asleep and awoke to see this good-looking brother with his hand on my breast, and he was going to speak either in Baton Rouge or at LSU.
‘God?’ I exclaimed. Is it true that God is a black man?’ Then I asked, ‘Dr. J?’ And I believed I was dying after saying it. ‘Damn, I’m dying in college?’ I said. ‘Do you believe it?’ And it was Dr. J. that did it. We conversed and had a wonderful time doing so.
Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
At Shaq’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Dr. J gave him a gift.
As many NBA fans know, O’Neal went on to follow in the footsteps of his hero and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. In a moment Shaq could never have envisioned as a child, Erving introduced him at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
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Before the 2000 NBA Finals, Shaquille O’Neal knew he had to dominate old foe Rik Smits: ‘I’ve got to kill him right away so he realizes this isn’t the same Shaq.’
The letter from a region in my mind analysis is an article that discusses the impact of God? God Is a Black Man? by Michael Eric Dyson.
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