Shaquille O’Neal reveals shocking admission from famous bookie years before NBA referee scandal

O'Neal was well aware when the referees tried to make calls to go their way.

Shaquille O’Neal reveals shocking admission from famous bookie years before NBA referee scandal

Shaquille O'Neal

The Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant players during his time in the league. Back in the day, betting on basketball games was pretty common. Though on the dark side of it, players, referees, and bookies were also involved in placing bets. There haven’t been major cases where the players were involved, as NBA contracts are handsome enough for the athletes to look the other way.


In the recent episode of the Big Podcast, O’Neal revealed his encounter with a bookie. A lot of the bookies that were involved in serious scandals, mostly in the 2000s, were sentenced to a certain amount of time. But this particular bookie whom Shaq had met was a pretty straightforward individual. Not only that, but he was also one of the biggest bookies of all.

True story, sitting at a bar and a guy comes, he says, 'Shaq you probably don't want to sit here.' I said, 'Why?.' He says, 'I'm one of the biggest bookies in the world and people know me and I don't want you next....' I said, 'Cool.' So we start talking, and we said, 'Hey you get player?', he said, 'No, you guys make too much money. I get referees.' And then a couple years after that, the whole thing broke.
Shaquille O’Neal said

In the mid-2000s, gambling, and betting on games were at their peak in the States. There were professional as well as college games that were fixed. Though as Shaquille O’Neal said, he seemed pretty chill with the bookie and wasn’t bothered by any sort of happenings. But when the infamous referee scandal broke out, which highlighted the name, Tim Donaghy, every player in the league changed his perception of calls that didn’t go the right way during the game.

Shaquille O’Neal knew when the calls weren’t right during the game

Having met with the bookie and following the scandal in 2007, O’Neal better understood such fixed games. The only game that was held controversial and included O’Neal was the 2002 Conference Finals. The Kings were dominating the Los Angeles Lakers and were the favorites to win the championship.


But as one looks back at the series, Game 6 of the series was indeed suspicious. While this time, the game was in favor of Shaq, when the calls wouldn’t go the right way, O’Neal would remind the refs of the spread.

Whenever I felt like the game wasn't bring called right, I always used to go to the ref and be like, 'the spread is six b****. I just used to always tell them, I know exactly what you're doing. The spread is six.
Shaquille O’Neal added

Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his participation in the scandal with others involved. Throughout the years, with online betting sites taking over, fixing games has become less frequent. Still, some individuals look to have the upper hand while betting in the wrong way.

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