Shaquille O’Neal was never one to hide the pain of not having his biological father in his life, using everything from interviews, to his rap lyrics to explain what his step father Phillip Harrison meant to him.
I want to dedicated this song to Philip Arthur Harrison
Cause he was the one who took me from a boy to a man
So as far as I’m concerned, he is my father cause my biological didn’t bother
That was the opening line from O’Neal’s song “Biological Didn’t Bother” — off his 1994 album — Shaq-Fu Da Return.
O’Neal is in a different place these days, even reconciling with his biological father, Joseph Toney, as he prepares to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame.
In a great and introspective piece courtesy of The Undefeated’s Mike Wise — O’Neal Toney, “”I’m not mad at you,” “I don’t hate you.”
O’Neal born in Newark, New Jersey — was raised by his mother and stepfather, Harrison after Toney left the family following O’Neal’s birth.
Harrison — then a sergeant in the U.S. Army, brought up O’Neal at military bases all over the world, including Germany and Texas, where he became a legendary prep.
Harrison passed away in 2013, and maybe just needing someone to fill a certain void — O’Neal started talking to Toney.
“I don’t hate you,” O’Neal is quoted as telling him. “I don’t judge. I don’t have the right to judge. And, being a father, I know it’s hard.”
It’s an interesting read, and one that teaches us that time heals all wounds.