Shaquille O’Neal Says Gorillas Freak Out When He Gets Near Them And Miami Zoo Exec Confirms

Shaquille O’Neal has said that gorillas are scared of him and that they freak out whenever he gets near them. The basketball legend shared the factoid during a recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, claiming that whenever he turns up at a zoo, all hell breaks loose with the primates.

  1. The gorillas seem to want to fight Shaq. They’re scared of him, it seems, but not enough not to want to square up to him. “True story. I’ve been to every zoo in the world, and every time I go to the gorilla section, they look at me like, ‘Hey man, where your fur at?’ For real. For real,” Shaq shared. “That’s how they look at me. They also look at me like, ‘What am I doing in here and you out there?’ And they always go nuts when they see me.”
  2. It sounds weird, but Shaq has proof. He knows that the claim is a bit outlandish, which is why Shaq called up Ron Magill, an executive from Zoo Miami, to confirm what he was saying, and confirm he did!
  3. The exec went on to say that Shaq is naturally intimidating to the gorillas. As Magill explained, the animal “gets intimated, and he looks at Shaq and thinks that Shaq is going to take away his girls, and he gets tight-lipped and tries to stand up and make himself look as big as possible. But at the end of the day, he backs off. He knows who’s boss.”
  4. This doesn’t just happen in Miami. You might assume that there’s just something weird with the gorillas at Zoo Miami, but Shaq said it happens everywhere. “Every zoo in the world they go nuts,” Shaq said. “They try to break out the damn thing and try to fight me.”
Gorilla in a zoo
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill