Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal may be a big and imposing figure, but he has a playful personality and is the type of person some might describe as a gentle giant. He likes to have a good time, but that recently cost him an embarrassing moment on national TV.
Shaq made a bet with former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade regarding a recent Heat-Bucks game, and the wager didn’t go in his favor. So Shaq had to pay off the bet on the NBA on TNT pregame show, giving fans a look at a part of Shaq that people rarely see.
The bet Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade made
The Heat hosted the NBA-leading Bucks on March 2, and Shaq didn’t have much faith in his former team. He said that the Bucks would blow out the Heat, winning on the road by 20. Wade wasn’t so sure about that and took the other side of the bet, essentially picking Miami +20. Wade seemed to be on the right side of the wager because the Heat were only five-point underdogs, and Wade did win the bet — thanks to the Heat winning the game outright.
Not only did the Heat win, but they did so by 16 points with a final score of 105-89. So they almost won by the margin that Shaq thought they would lose by. It probably wasn’t a good idea for Shaq to predict a team that is firmly in playoff position would lose by 20 points to a team that it had already beaten earlier in the season.
How the Heat beat the Bucks
The game’s result was so surprising because the Bucks have the best record in the NBA this season, and they have one of the best players in the league with reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. So how did the Bucks lose by 16 points?
Heat forward Jae Crowder, who tied for the team-high with 18 points, said it was a “collective effort,” with “all hands on deck.” Jimmy Butler also scored 18, with guard Goran Dragic adding 15 points in the winning effort. The Heat held Antetokounmpo to just 13 points and held the Bucks to a season-low 89 points.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra discussed the game, acknowledging that it’s not reasonable to expect the Heat to “hold great offensive teams like this regularly under 90,” but they did it against the league’s best team. In the process, they became the first team this season to win two games against Milwaukee.
How Shaq paid off the bet
Shaq has been shaving his head for much of the time that he’s been in the public spotlight. And so Wade decided to exploit that when deciding what he wanted Shaq to do in order to pay off the bet. Wade wanted Shaq to show his natural hairline to America, so that’s what O’Neal did on TNT.
He grew his hair out enough so that people could see where his hairline is, and it made for an interesting sight for basketball fans. Shaq said he wanted to “just get it out of the way, America” before showing off his hairline.
It may have been an embarrassing moment for the seven-footer, but he handled it with the dignity and playfulness that people have come to expect from him, even using the moment to get in a jab at s NBA on TNT colleague, saying his hairline “looks like Kenny Smith’s.”
Showing his hairline wasn’t a one-time thing, as Shaq decided to wear his hair like that all week in honor of paying off the bet he lost to his friend and former teammate.