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“It’s the Cousin of Weed”: When Shaquille O’Neal Accused $70 Million Worth Phil Jackson of Using ‘Marijuana’

The bond between Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal was unique. Unlike with Michael Jordan, Phil had more influence on the Lakers’ big man. He promised to turn O’Neal into an all-time great. From that moment on, he had the superstar hooked. O’Neal intently followed every instruction Jackson gave. He even partook in the Zen Master’s meditative therapy. In one such meditation meeting, Shaq suspected something illegal going on in the room.

Shaquille O’Neal spent 7 seasons with the Lakers without any championships. By the end of the 98-99 season, he was starving for one. He pushed for Lakers management to bring in Phil Jackson as the coach. The legendary coach had a record to prove his success and the Lakers seemed like the perfect franchise to coach.

Upon his arrival, he quickly took O’Neal under his wing and began to prepare for a long championship campaign. During these legendary preparations, Shaquille O’Neal began to suspect Phil depended on a certain herb to relax.

Also read: Despite Michael Jordan Losing Half His $400 Million Worth To Juanita Vanoy, Jasmine Jordan Claims He Wouldn’t Be Him Without His Women

Shaquille O’Neal claimed Phil Jackson used ‘weed’

In his book Shaq Uncut, O’Neal talked about meditation sessions with the legendary head coach. He claimed that Jackson would take the players into a dark room and guide them into letting go of their stress and fear. Amid the sessions, Shaq alleged, Phil would burn weed in a corner.

Shaquille O’Neal further wrote that growing up, he knew how certain ‘drugs’ smelled and confessed that he definitely knew how Marijuana smelled.

Shaq: “Phil was definitely a different sort of cat. He was into his Zen mode a lot. Being from the ’hood, I knew what certain drugs smelled like—weed, for instance. Phil wanted us to meditate, so he’d put us in a room and dim the lights and he’d burn sage. It smelled like weed. We’d call him on it and he’d tell us, “No, it’s not weed. It’s the cousin of weed.”

Well, Phil definitely denied Shaq’s claims about weed. He even called it the ‘cousin of weed.’ But Shaq wasn’t convinced.

Jackson used Marijuana during theater sessions?

According to Shaq, the meditation sessions weren’t the only time he detected the smell of marijuana from Jackson. He confessed that during theater sessions, he would often smell it.

O’Neal: “, it’s not weed. It’s the cousin of weed.” We had this fifteen-seat theater at the practice facility, and he’d start pounding this Indian drum. When he hit that thing, it meant “Get your ass to the theater.” You could be anywhere, but when you heard that doo, doo, doo sound you better get moving—or else. Once we got in the theater he’d turn out the lights and it would be pitch black. So here comes the weed—oh, sorry Phil, the “cousin of weed”—and then he’d tell us to lean back in our chairs and relax. Then he’d start talking to us about whatever was going on with our team.”

Well, whatever the means, there is no denying the genius of Phil Jackson. He won 11 championships in his coaching career after all. His success pushed his wealth to $70 million. Guess Phil indulging in his vices did not prove detrimental to his legacy.

Also read: “Kobe Bryant and LeBron James Are Totally Different, But..”: Dwight Howard Reveals the Key Similarity in Lakers Icons That Sets Them Apart

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