LSU legend Shaquille O’Neal is among LSU football fans who wonder what could have been.
On a recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, the former LSU basketball star and NBA All-Star says head coach Nick Saban would’ve stayed at LSU and led the Tigers to Alabama-like status, if only LSU had paid him more money.
Saban has now won four national titles at Alabama. He won one at LSU.
NBC Sports, in a report on its website Tuesday, quotes O’Neal as saying money led Saban to leave LSU for the Miami Dolphins, and money would’ve made him stay.
“I am LSU. Love Shaq University. I know everything that goes on on those grounds,” O’Neal said. “If the Dolphins offered him six (million) and LSU came back and said ‘hey, we’ll offer you 10,’ what do you think he going to do?”
In comments he made at the time, Saban described struggling with the decision when the Dolphins put a full-court press on him in December 2004.
“I didn’t want to leave” LSU, Saban said. “I actually turned the job down on Dec. 23 at 11 o’clock at night. I called Wayne Huizenga and said, ‘Wayne, I don’t think I can do this.’
“He and his wife came to the house the next morning, Christmas Eve, they were at the front door at 8 o’clock. He kind of talked us into doing it. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was very positive. And he was very good to me and my family.”