Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 30° Partly Cloudy

Shaq, Hill join 6 others in college hoops Hall

Former Louisiana State player Shaquille O'Neal, left, and former LSU coach Dale Brown were inducted on Sunday. (Associated Press)
Former Louisiana State player Shaquille O'Neal, left, and former LSU coach Dale Brown were inducted on Sunday. (Associated Press)
Dave Skretta Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O’Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.

What is often forgotten is just how far fate stretched for it to happen.

It wasn’t a large army base – Wildflecken was so remote that the nearest large city was several hours away. Soldiers despised the high altitude and lousy weather.

“For him to show up,” O’Neal said, “that meant everything to me.”

Brown would ultimately give O’Neal the confidence he needed to attend college, something he had never dreamed possible, and make it into the NBA, back then not even a dream. So it made sense that O’Neal and Brown would be inducted together into the College Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday night.

They were joined by six other luminaries, including former Duke star Grant Hill, Louisville standout Darrell Griffith, longtime Maryland coach Gary Williams, Stetson’s Glenn Wilkes Sr., Five-Star Basketball Camp founder Howard Garfinkel and the late Prairie View star Zelmo Beaty.

“I’m most excited to be here next to the guy who gave me the opportunity,” O’Neal said, “because at 13, 6-foot-9, I had zero confidence. I wasn’t even thinking about going to college, going to the NBA. And Coach Brown sent me letters every week, ‘How are you doing?’

O’Neal went on to win two national player of the year awards, average 22 points and 14 rebounds and set school records for blocks.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.