Shaquille O'Neal on Awkward Reason Why He Wants to Apologize to Miami Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel (Exclusive)

The NBA legend explains the awkward reason why in an exclusive ET interview.

It's not often Shaquille O'Neal feels small. Sheepish, even. Feelings he likely endured following an awkward encounter with Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.

Speaking to ET's Kevin Frazier ahead of throwing the bash -- dubbed Shaq's Fun House -- during next month's Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, the NBA legend shared why he wants to apologize to the second-year NFL head coach, whose Dolphins are the No. 6 seed in the AFC and take on the No. 3 seed Kansas City Chiefs in Wild Card playoff action Saturday.

The story goes, Shaq was out dining at the ritzy steakhouse, Prime 112, in Miami when McDaniel walked over to him and introduced himself.

"He's like a slim fella and he said, 'Shaq, I'm the coach from the Dolphins.' And I looked at him like he was crazy, like, 'Bruh,'" Shaq recalled. "And one day I was watching TV and I was like, 'He is the coach!'"

McDaniel has gained notoriety this season, not just because the Dolphins got off to a hot start but because the team's featured in HBO's Hard Knocks. McDaniel's life story only augments the intrigue behind a coach who never played in the NFL, though he did play wide receiver while at Yale. From coaching intern and offensive assistant to coach and now head coach, McDaniel's charted path led him to become "the most unlikely coaching prodigy in NFL history," and the 40-year-old is touted as "one of the brightest, most unexpected coaching whiz kids in NFL history."

That McDaniel was mistaken for some regular Joe Shmoe is nothing new, and ditto for being judged simply for being undersized. (Per a recent ESPN profile, McDaniel was constantly picked on as one of the smallest kids his age.)

"Yo, he looks like a kid," Shaq said. "I'm used to seeing the brawny coaches. When he came up to me and said, 'Shaq, I'm the coach of the Dolphins,' I was like, 'Yeah, OK, whatever. Nice to meet you.' So, Coach, I owe you an apology. I hope you guys make it to the Super Bowl. I apologize!"

It's going to be an uphill battle for the Dolphins, who lost three of their last five games of the season. And then there's the weather factor. Temperatures for the Dolphins' game in Kansas City is expected to reach a frigid 5 degrees with a wind chill approaching a whopping -30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service

The Dolphins have a tall task at hand, but Shaq hopes they come through, given that his dream Super Bowl matchup has the Dolphins facing the Dallas Cowboys. In any event, it's undeniable Shaq will have reason to party come Super Bowl weekend next month as he's hosting Shaq's Fun House for the sixth year.

"So, just when you thought the Super Bowl couldn't get any bigger or better, we all know Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world," he says. "So, I'm teaming up with Wynn and XS and we're gonna do it bigger and better."


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