Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has been a self-professed “geek” since 1989. He tells us how he got into computers and tech and how he tried to get Steve Jobs to give him an early preview of the iPhone.
The following is a transcript of the video.
SHAQ: I’ve been a geek since 1989. I became a geek because a geek helped me pass government in high school.
If I didn’t pass this last final test, wouldn’t play for the state championship.
The teacher, because she saw I was trying hard, she gave me another chance and said, “You need to go study with this guy over here.”
And this guy was so smart, he kinda intimidated me. He was the only guy in class who knew how to work the computer.
So because he was on the computer and I knew I wasn’t that smart, I kind of stayed away from him and stayed away from the smart people.
But the way he broke it down — his thought process, how he analyzed certain situations, how he studied — I actually picked that up and it got me through college and my master’s and my doctorate and all that.
But because of me hanging out with this guy for a week, a couple of hours a week, and just learned how cool he was and then just being in front of innovation.
I remember when the great Steve Jobs was still alive and he announced the iPhone. I got his phone number.
I called him plenty of times and I’d be like, Can I just look at it?
Because you read about it, you see all these publications, you know it’s coming out on Friday but it’s Thursday. Can I just fly to your house at 12:00, which is officially Friday?
But he always told me no. But I just always like to be at the forefront of technology.