Shaquille O'Neal Once Made Phoenix Suns Teammate Pass Out with Sleeper Hold

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Shaquille O'Neal Once Made Phoenix Suns Teammate Pass Out with Sleeper Hold
D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

Having trouble getting to sleep? Shaquille O'Neal has you covered.

Grant Hill was reminiscing about his time as Shaq's teammate on the Phoenix Suns on the set of TNT’s Inside the NBAOne of his anecdotes revealed that the Big Diesel put another Suns teammate in a sleeper hold, according to The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro.

Hill neglected to mention the name of Shaq's victim, but Coro was kind enough to fill in the blank and provide some further color: 

The Heat Index filled the gaps in his anecdote. It was April 2008. Imagine the Suns environment after a crushing Game 1 loss at San Antonio when Tim Duncan made a game-tying overtime 3-pointer to spur his team to victory.

There was an awkward discomfort about the off days in San Antonio and a sense that an ashen Mike D’Antoni was coaching the team for a final time.

Who knew just how much he was handling?

It turns out O’Neal and Gordan Giricek, who had been with the Suns for all of six weeks, mixed it up verbally during a closed practice to the point that O’Neal auditioned for his WWE future. He put Giricek in a sleeper hold, except it was no fake. Giricek passed out.

Giricek played in the remainder of the season, but it was his last NBA season.

Serves the 6'6" Gordan Giricek right for mixing it up with the 7'1" Shaq—especially after a playoff loss.

Relax, I'm kidding. Violence solves nothing. Use your words, kids.

Fortunately for Giricek, he incurred Shaq's wrath early. Imagine what would've happened if this went down after the Suns actually lost that series.

But seriously, could we take a moment and bow our heads to The Big Aristotle?

Butchered sleeper holds are quite common. Some of you, at one point or another, have been horsing around with friends and imitated the WWE-style move. I'd hazard few of you, if any, have found the level of success Shaq did. 

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

To be fair, the big man has trained mixed martial arts in the past, so the sleeper hold was technically sound for a reason. 

Regardless, Giricek went nighty-night, passing out at the mercy of Shaq's wit, strength and timeless fire. Yes, we should be impressed—maybe even a little scared. Well, perhaps not so much anymore, now that he's a lovable TV personality.

During his playing days, though, he wasn't one for avoiding confrontation. There are plenty of skirmishes for us to look back on, like the on-court squabble between himself and Charles Barkley before they were coworkers. Or that time Brad Miller was in the way of his "fist pump."

Or, more recently, his Twitter feud with Kendrick Perkins.

The situation with Giricek, then, comes as no surprise. Shaq has never been one to back down, so in the heat of practice, it stands to reason he would mix it up with a teammate.

It's the outcome that remains shocking. He put Giricek to sleep.

 

 

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