You can’t have a conversation about the most dominant players to ever play the game of basketball without talking about Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq was one of the most exciting players to watch during his career and might be the most charismatic player (on and off the court) to ever play in the NBA.
Shaq Uncut was released shortly after he retired from professional basketball and is a very personal retrospective on his life and career.
The book begins with Shaq describing his humble beginnings and his introduction to the game. One of the things that sticks out throughout the entire book is the relationship between Shaq and his father Philip Harrison. Many times while reading the book, his father comes across as being very abusive both physically and verbally, but to this day you can see the deep love, respect, and gratitude Shaq has towards his father and the impact he has made in his life. Definitely this was and is a very unique, but crucial relationship in Shaq’s life.
One of the major highlights of the book for me, is reading about the “behind the scenes” of the NBA. It’s always fascinating to see the league, teams, players, and coaches you’ve watched your whole life, from an insiders perspective. Learning about Shaq’s growth at LSU and his coming into the NBA, to his high’s and lows with the Orlando Magic was a great look at what shaped the career that would follow.
As expected, reading about his time with the Los Angeles Lakes was full of drama between winning three championships and his relationship with Kobe. I found reading about Shaq’s time with the Miami Heat to be very eye opening. Although he won another ring there, I had no idea about the struggles between he and the legendary coach Pat Riley. Walking through his time with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics was both a satisfying and a sad journey as you see such a passionate and important player come to the end of his career. By the end of the book you can sense Shaq’s sorrow to say goodbye to the game, especially with not winning another ring, but at the same time you know that he is far from finished living a very full and successful life.
Reading Shaq Uncut is like sitting back and listening to Shaq tell random stories about his life, aspirations, passions, friends, family, and career. For fans of Shaq and the NBA, this is a great book.