Shaquille O'Neal Explains Cameo in Netflix's 'Tiger King' Documentary Series

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2020

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR JCPENNEY - Shaquille O'Neal announces the winners of the Shaquille O'Neal's Big & Tall Model Search presented by JCPenney and Wilhelmina at STK Downtown Monday Aug. 19, 2019 in New York. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for JCPenney)
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

Shaquille O'Neal knew about Joe Exotic before seemingly everyone began watching "Tiger King" on Netflix.

The Basketball Hall of Famer had a cameo in one episode of the docuseries visiting the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. He explained the situation in an episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq.

O'Neal said he first visited the spot during a bus trip to see the Dallas Mavericks against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"On the way we see a sign that says 'Tiger Sanctuary,'" O'Neal explained on the podcast, via Lisa Respers France of CNN.com. "So we go in there and it's a beautiful place and the character that was there was Exotic Joe."

"We went back a couple times," he added. "Then we go back another time and we found out that he's involved with all the stuff and then, actually, I stopped going. I had no idea all that stuff was going on."

He was pictured with Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, AKA Joe Exotic, on the park's Instagram account.

"I was just a visitor," O'Neal later said, via TMZ. "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."

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"Tiger King" debuted March 20 and is currently the most popular television show with a 96 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, per Todd Spangler of Variety.

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