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Shaquille O’Neal clarifies relationship with Joe Exotic


Hall of Famer and former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal is in a bit of hot water right now after making a surprise cameo on Netflix’s new hit show, “Tiger King.” The controversy roots from the fact that the show’s main character, Joe Exotic — aside from all the crazy things he’s shown doing on the program — is a convicted criminal.

O’Neal admitted that he had been to Exotic’s zoo on a few occasions, but that he quickly stopped visiting as soon as he learned about Exotic’s unusual activities.

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that,” explained O’Neal in a recent episode of his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” via Gerald Bourguet of Fansided. “We take pictures with [the] tigers. We went back a couple times.

“Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

O’Neal went on to say that he is an animal lover, and has a particular liking for tigers. Nevertheless, he quickly distanced himself from Exotic and everything he stands for.

“I don’t harm tigers. I love tigers. I love white tigers,” the NBA personality said. “Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

This just seems like a case of O’Neal being at the wrong place at the wrong time. He did take a photo with Exotic, though, so perhaps next time he ought to be more judicious with the people he associates himself with, be it just in photographs.