“Shaq & Dale,” a poignant story of the long relationship between one of LSU’s greatest stars and the school’s winningest basketball coach, premieres Monday night on SEC Network.
The popular SEC Storied series, which is produced by ESPN Films, returns with the first of four shows focusing on the relationship between Dale Brown and Shaquille O’Neal that became more of a father-son relationship over the course of three decades.
The show, part of a series that focuses on the people, teams, moments and events that tell the ongoing story of the conference, debuts at 8 p.m. Monday on SEC Network with a replay at 10 p.m. It will also air at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
The hour-long show focuses on a relationship that was forged in 1984 when Brown met a 13-year-old O’Neal on an Army base in Germany, where his adoptive father was stationed.
That chance meeting, with the help of Brown’s strength and conditioning tips, eventually led O’Neal to LSU and a professional career as one of the NBA’s top players while becoming a larger-than-life star both on and off the court.
Even though O’Neal’s three-year career at LSU ended after three seasons in 1992, he and Brown have remained extremely close over the years.
The documentary was filmed in February and September during O’Neal’s frequent visits to Baton Rouge and the LSU campus.
Directed by Hannah Storm and narrated by Louisiana native and country music superstar Tim McGraw, the show follows the pair on a sentimental journey that led to Brown and O’Neal being inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last November.
In addition to featuring some of the bigger games he played in during his time with the Tigers, O’Neal recounts his recruiting trip to the school — which included an LSU football game — and a visit to Brown’s home.
“Coach Brown means the world to me,” O’Neal said early in the show. “Even now, I get an email once a week from Coach Brown. He’s been emailing me since email was invented, and not once has he asked me for anything.
“(He) never let me down … has always been there for me,” he added. “One word comes to mind: loyalty.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.