Shaquille O’Neal played for six franchises over a 20-year NBA career. That’s a lot of teammates. Speaking on The Big Podcast with Shaq, the four-time champion and Hall of Famer revealed which one of those teammates was the worst.
“Worst teammate? Dennis Rodman,” O’Neal said. “He was a great player, but he made it hard. Like when you try to corral the guys together and the people above you [are] letting this one guy do whatever he wants. So we had to be there an hour before the game. He’d come in fifteen minutes before the game eating chicken and rice. While the coaches are talking, he would jump in the shower. Cold shower. Come and give you 15-20 rebounds.”
O’Neal played with some characters in his time. We know about his beef with Kobe Bryant, who we know wasn’t always the easiest teammate to get along with, though Shaq has long expressed regret over the way he and Bryant handled their relationship as young superstars, and eventually, he became one of Bryant’s biggest advocates.
Still, it’s pretty easy to imagine why Rodman would’ve been a tough guy to share a locker room with. He was past his prime when he came to the Lakers, but the antics were still front and center. It’s one thing when you’re running off to Vegas during the season when you’re the best rebounder in the world and a top-tier defender on a championship team.
It’s quite another to be a walking distraction when you’re mostly washed up and suiting up for just about a quarter of a season. Indeed, O’Neal didn’t spend much time alongside Rodman. They played just one season together, 1998-99 with the Lakers, and Rodman only appeared in 23 games. The Lakers were eliminated that year in the conference semifinals by the Spurs, who went on to win the championship.