Shaquille O'Neal Says He Threw His Olympic Gold Medal Out the Car Window After Winning It in 1996

The Hall of Famer said he was "so mad" after only playing the final two minutes of the game at the Atlanta Olympics

<p>Kimberly White/Getty</p>

Kimberly White/Getty

  • Shaquille O'Neal says he threw his Olympic gold medal out the window of his car after the win in 1996

  • The Hall of Famer admitted on the latest episode of his podcast that he was upset about his playing time during the gold medal game at the Atlanta Olympics

  • These days, O'Neal channels his energy into charity efforts for people he doesn't know

Somewhere on a highway near Atlanta, Shaquille O’Neal threw his Olympic gold medal out the window of his car in 1996.

Nearly 30 years later, the Hall of Famer reminisced about the frustrating experience which led up to the unlikely demise of his medal while on The Big Podcast with Shaq with co-host Adam Lefkoe.

“The Olympic games, ‘96, I played throughout, helped them come back, win games,” O’Neal, 52, said. “And in the gold medal game, [coach] Lenny Wilkens says, ‘Hey this is probably David Robinson’s last game, so he’s gonna get more minutes.’ I said 'Cool.' ”

O’Neal continued, “But he didn’t play me at all until like the last two minutes. I was so pissed off, after the ceremony, I drove home in my uniform and I threw the goddamn medal out the window on I-75.”

Related: Shaquille O'Neal Says Being a Father to '15 Children That I Call My Own' Helps Him Connect with Kids

Known as the Dream Team III, five players from the gold-medal winning 1992 Olympics team competed at the Atlanta games in 1996, including Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Robinson.

It was O’Neal’s first and only appearance on an Olympic team.

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And while the former Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers star admitted to keeping the uniform, he told Lefkoe that he believes the medal has never been found.

“I went like this [O’Neal motions as if he is ripping the medal off his neck] and threw it out the window,” he said. "I was so mad."

Related: Shaquille O'Neal Says He Made a Lot of 'Dumbass Mistakes' with His Family: 'I Was an Idiot'

In an interview with PEOPLE in 2022, the icon admitted to lifelong issues with keeping his anger under control.

"After a bad game, especially if it was my fault, missed my free throws, I'd go crazy," he said at the time. "I'd tear the house up. I was the Hulk."

But as DJ Diesel has evolved, he told PEOPLE, he’s learned to flip the narrative for good.

O’Neal now revels in his frequent “guerrilla-style” ambushes where he buys people he doesn’t know gifts at big-box stores.

"One, it's the right thing to do. It's what I was taught," he explained. "And two, that could be me. That was my parents and me back in the day — them trying to give me things they couldn't afford. I've got plenty of money now."

"Plus," he added, "I know what kids like — because I am a kid."

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