Shaquille O’Neal Explains His Appearance on ‘Tiger King,’ Says He’s Not Friends With Joe Exotic

Jonathan Sherman
2 Min Read

The Netflix documentary series “Tiger King” has caused quite a bit of controversy amongst fans.

One person who has now been roped into that controversy is Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal was featured in the documentary, and has since come forward to explain his cameo in the series.

He spent some time on the Big Podcast With Shaq to explain his appearance on the show. O’Neal said he first visited the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma on a bus trip to see the Dallas Mavericks play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“On the way we see a sign that says ‘Tiger Sanctuary,'” O’Neal explained on the podcast. “So we go in there and it’s a beautiful place and the character that was there was Exotic Joe.”

“We went back a couple times,” he added. “Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff and then, actually, I stopped going. I had no idea all that stuff was going on.”

Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, is the main subject of the series. While he is certainly a fascinating character, he has also gained a lot of rightful critics due to allegations of animal cruelty.

“I was just a visitor,” O’Neal later said, via TMZ. “I met this guy. Not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Clearly, O’Neal wanted to get in front of the story and explain his appearance on the show in his own words before he lost control of the narrative.

Hopefully, the honest admission keeps O’Neal out of the headlines when it comes to the controversy that the series has already created.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.