Shaquille O’Neal made a short appearance but a lasting impression during halftime of Syracuse’s 78-53 win over Fordham in its season opener Saturday afternoon.
Shortly after being introduced O’Neal lifted SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor over his head. He then closed his halftime remarks by telling the 22,906 on hand that “Georgetown sucks!” which delighted the crowd even more.
He also inspired players in the game, including Syracuse center Fab Melo.
In the days leading up to games, Melo watches videos of elite basketball big men including Dennis Rodman and Hakeem Olajuwon. O’Neal is also in his video queue.
“He’s definitely an inspiration,” Melo said. “He’s big. I’m glad he retired so I never have to worry about him.”
Perhaps Shaq would be the one worried about Melo after the SU center had four points, four blocks, four rebounds and two assists, while showing his improved agility on the court.
“I don’t think he’s ever seen a 7-footer move like (me),” Melo said, jokingly.
The three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and four-time NBA Champion was on hand to deliver a public service announcement for the Century Council’s “Stupid Drink” promotion.
The goal of the initiative is to promote responsible drinking. The “Stupid Drink” is the one that occurs between being in control and out of control, according to the program’s authors.
Corey Mallonee contributed to this story with reporting from Syracuse.
- Waters: 2017-18 Syracuse basketball has path to NCAA Tournament bid - October 18, 2017
- Instant Juice: Syracuse 27, Clemson 24 - October 13, 2017
- Experience with Syracuse basketball’s zone can be indicator of defensive efficiency - October 11, 2017
- 2017-18 Syracuse basketball: Best and worst case scenarios - October 5, 2017
- Does experience necessarily translate into wins for Syracuse basketball? - October 4, 2017
- Instant Juice: Syracuse 25, NC State 33 - September 30, 2017
- Instant Juice: Syracuse 26, LSU 35 - September 23, 2017
- Does Syracuse football have a puncher’s chance against LSU? - September 22, 2017
- What will Syracuse basketball’s starting lineup look like in 2017-18? - September 21, 2017
- Instant Juice: Syracuse 23, Middle Tennessee 30 - September 9, 2017