The latest episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq was released on Thursday and O’Neal predictably spent a lot of the show discussing Smith’s stunning slap of Rock at the Oscars. O’Neal didn’t want to condemn Smith’s actions, but he had a lot of respect for Rock’s handling of the situation, comparing the comedian to Martin Luther King Jr.
“There’s two sides of what Chris should have done,” O’Neal said. “He was the bigger man, very corporate, didn’t do nothing back, came with a joke right away, that’s why I thought it was fake cause he is like, ‘wow, Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me’. Kudos to him for having the Martin Luther King mentality, take it on the cheek and continue to be peaceful.”
Shaq praised Chris Rock's "Martin Luther King mentality" pic.twitter.com/hrusMQAHnp
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) April 1, 2022
While he respected Rock’s ability to avoid escalating the altercation after getting slapped by Smith, O’Neal’s not sure he could have handled the situation similarly, claiming he would’ve confronted the King Richard star that night.
“I would have told the people ‘lock the door.’ There’s nobody leaving until I get ahold of him,” O’Neal continued. “If Denzel and Tyler Perry get in the way, they gonna get these hands. Ain’t no way you gonna smack me, turn around and go sit back down. I got to see you immediately, if I don’t see you immediately cause the corporate side kick in cause I don’t wanna lose all the endorsement that I got, I’mma see your a** at the back.”
If the seven-foot basketball Hall-of-Famer was standing on the Oscars stage making a G.I. Jane joke in place of Rock, I think it’s safe to say the 6’ 2” Smith would have decided to stay seated.
Like Smith, who won Best Actor for his performance in King Richard, O’Neal was also part of an Oscar winning film on Sunday. O’Neal was an executive producer for The Queen of Basketball, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short.
Despite being proud of the honor and working on the film’s production crew, O’Neal was not listed as an Oscar winner, with the award only going to the documentary’s director and producer Ben Proudfoot.