“Taught me to be mentally strong, never to complain and not to cry with everything at my disposal”

Shaquille O’Neal was one of many NBA legends who paid tribute to the late Bill Russell. O’Neal showed his gratitude to Russell for leading the way for him and the rest of the league. The LA Lakers legend also revealed all the lessons he learned from the 11-time champion.

In an interview with USA Today’s Bryan Alexander, O’Neal was asked about his relationship with Russell. The four-time champion explained that he knows the Boston Celtics legend is a big man. However, he had personal conversations with Russell, who taught him a lot about life.

“I grew up knowing that Bill Russell was a great man,” O’Neal said. “But I didn’t know until I talked to him how much. He couldn’t stay in the same hotels as his (white) teammates, people were writing harsh words to him. Back then, he didn’t had never made the kind of money I make, but never complained.”

“These conversations taught me to be mentally strong, never to complain, and not to cry with everything at my disposal.”

O’Neal also opened up about the time he failed to buy Russell’s memorabilia at an auction. Russell put two of his championship rings up for sale, as well as his Hall of Fame ring, among others, last year.

Shaq swore to buy them all after hearing about them. However, he failed because he didn’t want to go through the whole submission process.

“No, I was too late. I didn’t want to go through the bidding process,” O’Neal said. “I wanted to know who was responsible and make an offer you can’t refuse and buy it all. But they kept putting me through this auction process and by the time the (auction catalog) arrived, I chose my item numbers it was a day too late.”

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Shaquille O’Neal has risen to the top in basketball and in life. He learned many lessons from his parents and peers. He continues to make money, but also doesn’t forget to give back to his community and even random people whenever he’s away.

Edited by Juan Paolo David

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