Shaq banned Heat players’ wives from traveling with team: ‘All the wives hated me’

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Shaquille O’Neal — who helped lead the Miami Heat to their first title in franchise history back in 2006 — alleges that he made sure that players’ wives were not allowed to fly with the team.

“‘Cause again, I’m the guy — when I go to an organization, I don’t give a f— who there, I’m in charge,” O’Neal said. “Like for example, when I first got to Miami, wives could travel on a plane. No the f— they cannot. No they’re not. This s—‘s done with. No wife, no kids on the plane ever. Unless we make it to the Finals, and then they can come to Games 3, 4, 5 and 6. All the wives hated me, but that’s okay. You’re not traveling. I’m in charge now.”

O’Neal became a member of the storied Heat franchise when the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the team back in the summer of 2004.

It seemingly didn’t take long for O’Neal to get acclimated to playing with a new team, considering he debatably put up the best numbers of his stint with the Heat during his first season in Miami.

Across 73 appearances in the 2004-05 regular season, the 52-year-old averaged 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 blocks per game while also leading the league in field-goal percentage (60.1 percent).

He nearly won the second MVP award of his pro career that season, considering he finished with the second-most votes of any player in the league behind only Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, who averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 assists per contest.

O’Neal’s maiden season in Miami came to an end after the Heat were eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals.

But, as previously mentioned, O’Neal and the Heat won the NBA title the following year, and during Miami’s 2006 playoff run, the big man was debatably the squad’s most valuable player outside of Dwyane Wade.

He didn’t sit out a single one of Miami’s 23 playoff games and averaged 18.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game on 61.2 percent shooting from the floor.

However, winning the 2006 NBA title practically marked the end of O’Neal’s playoff success in Miami. In the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, he and the Heat were swept in four games by a Chicago Bulls team led by Luol Deng and Ben Gordon.

Then after playing 33 games with Miami during the 2007-08 regular season, he was dealt to the Suns, marking the end of his noteworthy stint with the Heat.

Maybe the fact that O’Neal was a proven winner by the time he got to Miami allowed him to set some rules for the team — like when he didn’t allow players’ wives to fly with the team — without getting pushback from his teammates.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.