Goran Dragic remembers rookie hazing from Shaq: ‘For every home game I had to bring 24 doughnuts’

Shaquille O'Neal #32 and Goran Dragic #2 of the Phoenix Suns take a break from the action during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 18, 2009 at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal #32 and Goran Dragic #2 of the Phoenix Suns take a break from the action during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 18, 2009 at US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

MIAMI — Goran Dragic has a unique Shaquille O’Neal experience.

As a 22-year-old rookie, Dragic was O’Neal’s teammate on the Phoenix Suns during the 2008-09 season. It’s unique because O’Neal made sure Dragic fulfilled his rookie obligations.

“First of all, for every home game I had to bring 24 doughnuts,” Dragic said with a smile. “At that time nobody ate doughnuts, only Shaq.”

And the doughnuts had to be from Krispy Kreme.

But there’s more.

“Every trip I had to carry a [piano] keyboard,” Dragic said. “At the end of the season, I asked him, ‘Shaq, why do I always have to carry this keyboard but I’ve never heard you play on it?’ He said, ‘It’s broken.'”

Typical Shaquille O’Neal humor.

Dragic also helped O’Neal pull pranks on other Suns teammates. Robin Lopez and Dragic, both NBA rookies at the time, tracked down Lou Amundson and held him down as O’Neal used clippers to take a patch of hair off his head and shaved off part of his eyebrows.

But even though O’Neal put Dragic through a lot as a rookie, he’ll never forget the experience. And Dragic is excited to catch up with him on Thursday night when the Heat retire O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey.

“I had to do my rookie duties, but he was always great to me,” Dragic said. “If I needed some help, he was always there for me. That year was special. I can remember it was tough. I was a lost kid from Europe, first time in the United States, first time in the NBA, I didn’t know what to do. Then suddenly you share a locker room with Steve Nash, Shaq, Amar’e Stoudemire and Grant Hill. I was in heaven. I just tried to embrace everything.”

When asked if bringing O’Neal 24 Krispy Kreme doughnuts for every home game ended up being a good idea, Dragic laughed.

“I mean, he put a lot of hard work in so he deserved it,” Dragic said.

[Luol Deng to face Heat for first time after two enjoyable seasons in Miami]

[The new CBA could impact the Chris Bosh situation]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Reader Comments 0

0 comments