Croatian guard Gordan Giricek had a solid six-year NBA career, but the highlight of his stint in the league has nothing to do with his play. He's more well known for being the Phoenix Suns teammate that Shaquille O'Neal put into a sleeper hold before a game.
Grant Hill, a member of the Suns at the time of the incident, joined "Reiter's Block" on CBS Sports HQ and received a call-in question from none other than Shaq himself. The big man asked Hill about the famous pre-game wrestling match, and Hill was forthcoming with the details.
"Shaquille O'Neal choked out Gordan Giricek before a game," Hill told host Bill Reiter. "He put him in a sleeper hold and the guy was knocked out, passed out on the locker room floor before the game. Definitely one of Shaq's memorable -- or not-so-memorable -- moments from the year and a half that I played with him with the Phoenix Suns."
Reiter then asked Hill why the altercation erupted in the first place, and Hill said it all stemmed from Giricek not liking to pass the ball to Shaq in the post.
"You know, Giricek was a good player from Croatia, a good shooter, but he never passed the ball inside," Hill said. "He would always kind of look Shaq off and shoot it. And they kind of would go back and forth and exchange words and Giricek would kind of talk trash to Shaq. And so one day Shaq was like, 'You know what, I'mma let this guy know who I am.'
"It was right before a big game in Phoenix against Dallas. We have our team meeting. The meeting ends, I go and use the restroom. I come out and Giricek's laid out on the floor. And I'm like, 'Come on Shaq! We're trying to win!' But it was typical Shaq. Thankfully, Giricek, nothing serious happened. Thankfully he's living to be able to talk about it. But Shaq was always entertaining and always knocking people out, I suppose."
“Definitely one of Shaq’s memorable, or not so memorable moments, from the year and a half that I played with him.”@SHAQ sends in a question for @RealGrantHill33 during his time with @sportsreiter … about the fight O’Neal started in the Suns’ locker room. pic.twitter.com/3o3TRXMXYh— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) August 30, 2018
Well, that will certainly teach guards to pass the ball to the post. If you don't, your big man could be waiting for you with a Rowdy Roddy Piper sleeper hold before your next game.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Giricek only played 22 games for the Suns in his last stop before heading back overseas to finish his career.