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Shaq Talks About ‘Protecting’ Former Teammate, UVU Coach Mark Madsen

Mark Madsen #35 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates from the bench in game four of the NBA Finals against the Philadephia 76ers at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lakers won 100-86. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mark Madsen, or Mad Dog as former teammate Shaquille O’Neal calls him, has a reputation for being the “purest guy I’ve ever met in the NBA.”

At least that’ what Shaq said during a recent interview.

“Mad Dog was the purest NBA guy I’ve ever met… and I had to protect that. I don’t know much about Mormons or their religion, but Mad Dog,” said Shaq, adoringly explaining his brotherly relationship with Madsen.

Most rookies go crazy, including himself, Shaq explained, but Madsen didn’t. On FS1’s Fair Game, Shaq talked about giving Madsen the down payment for his truck, because “everybody had a truck” and he wanted Madsen to be one of the guys.

“I’m gonna break it down without snitching,” Shaq began a story about when he first met Madsen.

There were 12 guys on the team, 11 of them were doing what guys with money do (partying). Shaq explained how he protected Madsen by telling the other guys not to invite him out or bring him around certain people.

“He told me, he said ‘Shaq I don’t do that, I don’t talk to women, I’m waiting ’til I get married’,” Shaq recalled, “It was awesome to hear because I had never heard that before.”

Shaq explained that Madsen wanted to save money, but in order to help him feel welcome and included Shaq bought him a nice suit to replace his khaki’s and polo.

“I still wanted to make him cool, part of the guys,” he said.

The story got even better when Shaq described the growth of their friendship and that their moms even became friends.

“This kid makes no mistakes, I love him,” Shaq concluded, “I didn’t want him to get turned around.”

While being protected, Madsen didn’t forget to have fun. Check out his dance moves, choreographed to Shaq rapping, after the Lakers won an NBA title in 2002.

After a nine-year NBA career, split between the Lakers and the Timberwolves, Madsen went on to coach as an assistant for the Utah Flash, Stanford (his alma mater), and the Lakers.

He is now the head men’s basketball coach at Utah Valley University.


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