Kendall Gill, former legendary Illinois Basketball star, recently posted a video interview of Shaquille O’Neal (aka Shaq, as we all know this is his household name) talking about his time as a recruit before committing to Louisiana State University. Shaq talks about a few places he visited, which included U of I. (This was certainly news to me.) Shaq mentions not going to Illinois because it was “too cold up there”, assuming he means “up” geographically north of LSU. He mentions visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State, and UNLV in addition to U of I in that clip.
Gill’s tweet says “Can you Imagine him with the Flyin Illini?”, which is the Final Four Illinois Basketball team Gill was a part of alongside Nick Anderson, Kenny Battle, and many more. So, Shaq would’ve theoretically been part of that 1989 team, which is wild to think about.
Shaq went on to play three seasons at LSU, and was drafted #1 overall by the Orlando Magic in 1992. From there, you know the rest. The accolades are just endless, as Shaq is one of the most dominant players to ever set foot on a basketball court.
Watch the short clip:
Top image screenshot from the video