by Glenn Davis | 8:22 pm, October 31st, 2011
A couple months ago, the Miami New Times leaked some emails that featured Shaquille O’Neal saying some really embarrassing things. While the most striking of these emails were probably the ones exchanged between Shaq and model Dominica Westling, also noteworthy was the 2007 correspondence in which Shaq declines to be set up with several attractive women, instead demanding – despite protestations that she was too young – no less than Rihanna.
SportsGrid senior editor Dan Fogarty noted at the time that: 1) yes, the 16-year age difference between Shaq and Rihanna is rather significant – especially at the time, when he was in his mid-30s and she not yet out of her teens; 2) Shaq really thought he had a shot with her?! Today, though, we got some confirmation that Shaq’s high standards aren’t a recent development. Deadspin leaked some passages from Shaq’s forthcoming autobiography, and in one of them, we get a glimpse of a much younger Shaq expressing his admiration for an especially lofty target:
I remember being in the dorm room one night and we were watching the movie Jungle Fever with Halle Berry in it, and I thought she was so stunning, so I wrote her a letter. I was just kind of kidding around, telling her I was a big fan and I’d love to meet her sometime. The guys totally goofed on me for doing it, but I didn’t care. A few weeks later, no lie, Halle Berry wrote me back. She sent me a signed picture that I still have hanging in my office. Turns out she’s a basketball fan. She wrote, “I’m a big fan of yours, too. I can’t wait until you get to the NBA.”While a signed photo response seems like standard fan mail procedure, the “big fan of yours” message isn’t something Berry would be giving to just anyone…and probably made the goofing Shaq endured worthwhile. All the excerpts are worth a look – there’s info on the breakdown of Shaq’s relationships with both Kobe Bryant and Pat Riley, as well as his future plans. But we just find ourselves coming back to Shaq’s (impossibly?) high standards. Hey, there’s something to be said for knowing what you want.