Shaquille O’Neal Opens Up to Jason Kelce About Past ‘Dumbass Mistakes’: ‘I Lost My Family’

Shaq Advises Jason Kelce on Retirement and Dumbass Mistakes That Cost Me My Family
Shaquille O'Neal, Jason Kelce. Getty Images(2)
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Shaquille O'Neal has some words of wisdom for Jason Kelce about retirement.

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast With Shaq,” the former NBA legend, 51, told the Philadelphia Eagles center, 36, to “enjoy” his time with his family whenever he decides to retire from the NFL.

“I made a lot of dumbass mistakes to where I lost my family and I didn’t have anybody,” O’Neal said. “That’s not the case for you, so enjoy your beautiful wife, enjoy your beautiful kids, and never dwell on what we had.”

O’Neal continued: “What we had is what we got. You got the ring, people know who you are. Enjoy, because again, I was an idiot, and I’ve talked about it a long time. I lost my whole family. I’m in a 100,000-square-foot house by myself.”

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"But again, the way I was raised. F—k up, man up and deal with it,” he added.

O’Neal shares sons Shareef, 24, and Shaqir, 20, daughters Amirah, 22, and Me'arah, 17, and stepson Myles, 26, with ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal. He also shares daughter Taahirah, 27, with ex Arnetta Yardbourgh.

In his 2011 autobiography, Shaq Uncut: My Story, Shaq admitted he was emotionally unavailable throughout his relationship with Shaunie, 49. (The former couple split in 2009 after seven years of marriage).

Shaq Advises Jason Kelce on Retirement and Dumbass Mistakes That Cost Me My Family
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"At one time, my ex-wife Shaunie and I were happy, but I admit it — I was a guy," Shaq wrote in his book. "I was a guy with too many options. Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that's on me. In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully, but obviously I shouldn't have done it all."

He added: "You know as well as I do relationships are about maintaining. ... It wasn't the big stuff, it was the small stuff, and that's my fault. I had things to do. I was trying to win, trying to make some money. I admit I wasn't the best partner. I just didn't know how. I'm learning now."

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Shaq’s retirement advice comes one month after Kelce’s NFL season ended with a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after which he reportedly told his teammates that he wasn’t planning to return. Kelce seemingly changed his tune during a subsequent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen for me,” he said in January, adding, “I do know, I still want to be involved in the organization and still want to be a part of it, regardless of what the decision is.”

Kelce joined the Eagles in 2011 and was the first rookie center in the team’s history to start every game of the regular season. He led the Eagles to win their first Super Bowl in 2018, defeating the New England Patriots. He played in the NFL championship again in 2023, but his team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs (and Jason’s younger brother, Travis Kelce).

Jason and his family have been open about the topic of his retirement for several years. In May 2020, Jason quieted speculation about the end of his career by telling reporters, “When I’ve decided to retire, you guys will know,” while admitting that football “takes its toll” on the body.

During a recent appearance on Good Morning America, Jason’s wife, Kylie Kelce, made it clear that she supports whatever decision her husband makes. (The couple share daughters Wyatt, 4, Ellie, 2, and Bennett, 11 months.)

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“I think that it would be unhealthy to always be asking, ‘What if? What if I continued? What if I played one more season?'” she said in January. “I think that whatever he does, he’s going to be successful in.”

Jason’s parents have also weighed in on his potential new chapter. “Jason will quit when he’s determined that he’s had enough,” his dad, Ed Kelce, said on the “Baskin & Phelps” podcast last month. “I think we may be there. I don’t have inside information. He talks as if he’s retiring.”

Kelce’s mom, Donna Kelce, previously told Fox News that she doesn’t tell anyone what to do with their life or career “because it may come back to haunt you later on.”

“As a parent, you don’t want your children not wanting to talk to you or just to think that you’re interfering too much. I think that’s basically it,” she said in November 2023. “They know the pros and the cons, they’re very aware of how their body feels after the season’s over. They can decide what’s going to be better: having another year out there or not knowing what you want to do. It’s just a personal decision, and nobody can make it for them.”