Fans should certainly be curious to know how the first interaction between Shaquille O’Neal and Joseph Toney went down. We already know that Shaq went through childhood while being raised by his mother after his father abandoned them.
Soon Philip Harrison entered his life as his stepfather and things seemed to be going quite well for a young O’Neal. Therefore, it is no surprise that he was taken aback and shocked upon having met his biological father Joseph Toney for the first time. With that being said, let us take a closer look at how this interaction went down.
Shaquille O’Neal didn’t know how to behave upon meeting Joseph Toney for the first time
The NBA legend revealed in his book Shaq Uncut that he felt like he was living in a world of contradiction when growing up. Since his father left when he was very young, O’Neal had almost no memories of him. Moreover, his mother Lucille O’Neal remarried Philip Harrison and took on his surname, while making sure that Shaq retained her maiden name.
He revealed how that alone was enough to fill him with curiosity about his actual father. Finally, when Shaq was just 7 years old, his mother decided that enough time had passed and that it was time for him to meet his real father. Despite initially wanting to know what his real father was like, Shaq disclosed that he really didn’t know how to behave upon meeting Toney for the first time.
“The day I went to meet him he was nice enough. He said, ‘What’s up? Hey kid, how are you doing? I’m your daddy.’ I wasn’t really sure what to think. I had this other guy at home who sure acted like my daddy. Philip Harrison had given me a place to live, some toys, and even though I got in trouble a lot, I was cool with my life.”
Not many people can blame Shaq for being confused over who his father actually was. After all, a father is someone who raises and guides a child. Not merely a man who brings the child into the world. Therefore, it makes sense for Shaq to have felt puzzled over who to call his father. In any case, he was certainly closer to Philip Harrison when compared to Joseph Toney.