Hassan Whiteside develops friendship with Shaquille O'Neal

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 6:59 PM

Miami Heat middle Hassan Whiteside recently struck up a friendship with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, who earlier this week was selected to the Basketball Corridor of Fame.

Hassan Whiteside develops friendship with Shaquille O'Neal

The conversations presently occur about once a week.

Miami Heat middle Hassan Whiteside recently struck up a friendship with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, who earlier this week was selected to the Basketball Corridor of Fame. The two generally cover subjects ranging from basketball to off-the-court activities.

"When you know the Diesel, it'south special," Whiteside said.

Their friendship began when Whiteside was given O'Neal'south phone number. It mostly involves one of the most dominant large men in league history offering advice to an up-and-coming star.

"Any time I necessity to speak to him, I can speak to him," Whiteside said.

Whiteside has battled maturity issues throughout the latest two seasons. Although he also has access to former Heat middle Alonzo Mourning, who works in the franchise'south front office, having O'Neal on speed-dial adds another mentor at his disposal.

"It'south excellent being able to speak to a legend, to speak to a large guy," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "I'm sure that'south been grand for him, to obtain a different voice as well, an outside voice."

Whiteside said he hopes speaking with O'Neal can lead to something else. Throughout his career, O'Neal had a knack for creating nicknames for himself. They ranged from Superman to Diesel to Large Aristotle. Whiteside is still debating a moniker, even coming up with a short list.

"I necessity to ask Shaq for a nickname," Whiteside said. "He'south got two hundred fifty nicknames, so that'south the person that should've given me a nickname."

Whiteside is a game-time decision for Thursday'south game against the Chicago Bulls at AmericanAirlines Arena. He's dealing with a right thigh bruise he sustained Tuesday versus the Detroit Pistons.

"We kept Hassan out of the practice because he got hit in the leg," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We'll look how he feels (Thursday)."

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