Shaquille O’Neal gives ‘Hawk Tuah’ girl sage advice while linking up in Nashville

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal reportedly gave Hailey Welch – the girl who became famous for the “Hawk Tuah” meme – some advice on how to handle her newfound fame.

Welch went viral from a clip of her during a street interview.

“We’re told Shaq gave Hailey a bunch of tips on how to deal with fame,” TMZ wrote. “…advising her to keep a smart team around because folks will come out of the woodwork to try and take advantage of her.

“Our sources say the conversation included Hailey showing Shaq some of the hateful comments she’s getting in response to her viral video…with Shaq telling her to pay the haters no mind because none of them actually know her.”

O’Neal, who has been in the public eye for much of his life, certainly gave some sound advice to Welch, who is clearly new to all of the publicity she is receiving.

Welch was recently brought on stage at a Zach Bryan concert, so O’Neal isn’t the only celebrity that she’s gotten to meet and hang around.

Following the concert, O’Neal and Welch partied at Jon Bon Jovi’s new joint in Music City the next night, according to TMZ. It was also reported that Welch considers O’Neal a friend that cares about her well-being.

O’Neal has handled his fame well in his post-NBA career, as he’s become a fixture in various commercials, hosts his own podcast and has been an analyst for TNT on “Inside the NBA” for several seasons.

For Welch, it’s nice to have a mentor like O’Neal in her corner as she attempts to capitalize on her newfound fame.

O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion and the 1999-00 regular season MVP, was one of the greatest players of his generation – and potentially of all time – during his NBA career.

He won two scoring titles during his career, three NBA Finals MVP awards and was a huge part of the Lakers’ success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During his playing career, O’Neal was a 15-time All-Star and averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 58.2 percent from the field.

While Welch certainly doesn’t have the athletic resume that O’Neal does, she has her own path to fame with how quickly the internet can allow a person to blow up with just one shining moment.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.