Shaq Reveals He Came Close to Killing a Kid in a School Scrap That Could’ve Derailed His Entire Life

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal recently opened up about a startling incident from his youth where he nearly killed a kid with epilepsy by hitting him. In an interview on the “Pound for Pound” podcast, Shaq recalled how he used to be a “medium level juvenile delinquent” who frequently got into scraps as a kid.

One day in class, Shaq was being the “class clown” and threw a spit wad at the board, angering the teacher who had previously warned him about getting into more trouble. Shaq decided he was going to hit whoever snitched on him for throwing the spit wad. He spotted a kid next to him make a motion, assumed he was the snitch, and proceeded to hit him.

However, the kid Shaq hit turned out to have epilepsy. Shaq said, “He starts swallowing his tongue and he’s doing this shit. He has epilepsy. I don’t know what epilepsy is.” Fortunately, someone stepped in and saved the kid by putting a pencil in his mouth. As Shaq recounted, “The guy tells me, ‘Man, you’re gonna kill this kid.'”

Shaq admitted that if the other person hadn’t intervened, “There would be no Shaq” because he could have killed the kid with his attack. He credits this incident as the moment he realized he needed to change his behavior, saying “After that day, I kinda chilled out.”

The NBA superstar’s candid story highlights how consequential decisions made in youth can be, both positively and negatively. Shaq was lucky his impulsive actions didn’t lead to an unthinkable tragedy that could have derailed his entire life and career.