Shaquille O’Neal had a 20-year NBA career and played for six different teams. A large number of teammates. The four-time champion and Hall of Famer revealed which of those teammates was the worst while speaking on The Big Podcast with Shaq.
“Worst teammate? Dennis Rodman,” O’Neal said. “He was a great player, but he made it hard. Like when you try to corral the guys together and the people above you [are] letting this one guy do whatever he wants. So we had to be there an hour before the game. He’d come in fifteen minutes before the game eating chicken and rice. While the coaches are talking, he would jump in the shower. Cold shower. Come and give you 15-20 rebounds.”
O’Neal once experimented with many characters. Although Shaq has always voiced regret over the way he and Bryant handled their relationship as young superstars, we know about his feud with Bryant, who wasn’t always the easiest teammate to get along with. Eventually, Shaq became one of Bryant’s biggest supporters.
Nevertheless, it’s not hard to see why Rodman would’ve been a challenging roommate. When he joined the Lakers, he was past his prime, but the theatrics were still prominent. It’s one thing if you’re the best rebounder in the world and a top-tier defender on a championship team and you go off to Vegas during the season.
Being a walking distraction after being mostly cleaned up and dressed for only about a fourth of the season is quite another. O’Neal and Rodman didn’t interact much, it’s true. In their lone season together (1998–1999) with the Lakers, Rodman participated in just 23 games. The Spurs, who went on to win the title that year, eliminated the Lakers in the conference semifinals.