Shaquille O’Neal Freaks Gorillas Out at the Zoo

Add gorillas to the list of creatures intimidated by Shaquille O’Neal.

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” the former NBA big man explained that gorillas freak out when he shows up at zoos and that they want to fight him. Shaq even called an executive from Zoo Miami during the podcast who confirmed the tale. 

The conversation came up when Shaq was contemplating whether to let his gray hair grow out, joking that he would be a “silverback” gorilla and not a “silver fox.”

This led to Shaq, a huge zoo aficionado, explaining how gorillas act in his presence. 

“True story,” Shaq said. “I’ve been to every zoo in the world, and every time I go to the gorilla section, they look at me like, ‘Hey man, where your fur at?’ For real. For real. That’s how they look at me. They also look at me like, ‘What am I doing in here and you out there?’ And they always go crazy when they see me.”

Shaq, who is 7 feet 1, 325 pounds, then called the animal expert Ron Magill, the communications director for Zoo Miami. Magill is also a bit of a “zookeeper to the stars” and a celebrity in his own right. 

Magill not only confirmed the story but also took it a step further by explaining that the male gorillas are intimidated by Shaq.

The gorilla “gets intimated, and he looks at Shaq and thinks that Shaq is going to take away his girls, and he gets tight-lipped and tries to stand up and make himself look as big as possible,” Magill said. “But at the end of the day, he backs off. He knows who’s boss.”

Shaq then added that it is the same at every zoo.

“Every zoo in the world they go crazy,” Shaq said. “They try to break out the damn thing and try to fight me.”

You can listen to Shaq’s initial comments at the 2:30 mark in the episode below and Magill’s story at the 7:05 mark.

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