Shaq is on the lot, buying a car from my brother

Shaquille O'Neal


Posted: Sep 17 2010 by: amreiter

Story Type:

Subcategories: NBA  

Story Location: Marina Del Rey, CA, United States

Story Date: Dec 6 2002 - 01:00

Shaq is on the lot, buying a car from my brother
Shaq is on the lot, buying a car from my brother


Shaq is on the lot? He bought a car
from my brother


It was Friday Dec 6, 2002. The LA
Lakers had won 3 championships back-to-back-to-back and Shaq was
having some injury issues with his foot. He had come back in the line
up just a few games before and the Lakers were 1-2 since he came
back. they just lost to Utah the night prior. My brother & father
owned a used car lot in LA on Lincoln Blvd right next to Brennan's
Irish Pub. They had been there for 20+ years selling cars. They had
some cars on consignment and that is what brought this story to life.
Now my Dad is a LA Laker fan, too, not as avid as myself, but a
follower of the team, let's say. My brother was not really a sports
fan, but certainly new the major players. Well on their lot was a
white 1966 Lincoln town car convertible with the suicide doors. Very
clean, nice vintage car. So here is what went on. I lived in San
Diego at the time and my Dad's car lot was close to the LA Forum in
comparison. My Dad calls me up and says "hey Shaq is on the
lot!". I thought he was trying to use slang and I said "You
mean Shaq is in the House! Yeah I know they play tonight against
Dallas." He says, "No, he is on the lot right now. I gotta
go, he is coming into the office!" He hangs up on me. I am
bewildered, thinking he is fooling around with me, so I call him
back. Their lot mechanic answers the phone, so I thought I'll play
this game and pretend I am the Laker's trainer and ask for Shaq. I
say in a deep voice "This is Gary Vitti, can I talk to Shaq?"
figuring he will say what are you talking about. Well the guy says,
"Hey Shaq, it's Gary Vitti, he says he wants to talk to you?"
I am totally freaked right now and hang up! What? Is this for real?!
Is Shaq really there? I am confused and freaked out that I almost
spoke to Shaq. Ok, I compose myself and call my dad on his cell phone
and say "what the heck is going on? My dad says "Kevin (my
Brother) is talking to Shaq about the Lincoln. Shaq wants to buy it,
but he wants his mechanic to look at it first." I said, "Your
joking right?" He says "No really, I'll call you back after
he leaves." I am beside myself. My dad calls me back in about 30
minutes and says "Hey that was Shaq and he is coming back on
Saturday after the game and going to look at the car, if you want to
meet him drive up and I'm sure you can say hi. He seems like a real
legit guy." I said I will be there, when is he coming by?"

Well, that night Dallas was ahead by almost 30 points at the
half. It was not looking good. The Lakers only scored 12 points in
the 2nd quarter. Then all of a sudden, the Lakers score about 44
points in the 4th quater and take the lead and win the game. I am
totally jazzed, feeling awesome. Hey my favorite player was injured
only a few games ago and now he is on fire and the Lakers win! I want
to do something nice since Shaq is always getting hounded for
autographs photo's etc. I go online and see he is getting an award
for outstanding person from NAACP. I thought ok I can get him a good
book about famous US African Americans, since he no doubt will go
down in history as one of the greatest NBA centers.


On Saturday I drive to LA with my 3
year old son, since I have to take him to meet Shaq, too. We get to
my Dad's car lot and we wait. Finally 2 Black SUV's pull up and Shaq,
his mechanic, his mechanics 6 yr old and Shaq's friend pop out of the
car. Lincoln Blvd. in Marina Del Rey is a busy street. People see
Shaq and either pull over or if on the sidewalk ask for his autograph
or photo. Typical. My brother had the car cleaned and ready for them
to look at. They look it over and people are still coming up to Shaq.
He is a total gentleman. He smiles, signs a couple autographs.
Finally he is ready to come into the office and sign some paperwork
and buy the car. As they do I say “Hi Shaq, great game last night.
I'm Kevin's Brother.” Shaq has a big million dollar grin and
says”Thanks”. Shaq is HUGE. Seems like he is 8 feet tall. They go
in and I am outside with my son and the mechanics son watching them
play on the patio. I can see them talking through the window. The
boys are getting along but the other boy wants to go in and be with
his dad now. My brother is in and out of the office getting papers
copied, etc.


I finally get the nerve to walk in with
my son. I say “hi” again. Shaq nods and grins at me. I say “Shaq,
I just want to thank you for all these years of entertainment and
watching you play and bring championships back to the Lakers. I got
you a little something to say thanks and also in tribute of your
honor by the NAACP.” I give my son the book I had wrapped up and a
note I wrote to Shaq. My son was very shy and Shaq was so big I think
it intimidated him even more. My 3 yr old was about half the size of
Shaq's shin! He approached Shaq but dropped the book and retreated in
shyness. Shaq smiled at my son and said thanks. He opened the card
and read my note. I signed it Anthony Reiter, Architect. Shaq then
said “ So your an architect?” I said, “yes” He said “ you
know those houses on the sides of hills that stand on stilts, are
those safe?” I answered him professionally, “Well they are
designed by engineers and have to go through the building department
for review, so they should be engineered to be very safe”. Shaq
then said “Well they don't look safe” I smiled and said “Yeah,
they don't.” Then I said, “I know everyone asks for your
autograph but I would be very appreciative if you would sign this
book for me.” I bought a 3-peat book from Barnes and Noble as a
memento and handed to Shaq to sign. His hands were absolutely
gigantic. Then since he was in a good mood, he asked my son if he
would like to see a magic trick? My son just smiled. The mechanics
son said “yeah!” Shaq took out a quarter, held it in his hand,
waved his other and made it disappear from view. Then he said to the
other boy, “I think its in your ear” and pulled it from the side
of the boys head. Everyone said “Wow” as the quarter appeared and
looked like a pebble in his hand. My brother cam back in to the room
and gave Shaq a few papers to sign. Then Shaq pulls out an NBA sock,
in this sock was a roll of $100 bills. (I still have the sock) He
counted out the cash for my brother and then he got up and shook my
brothers hand and said thanks.


Shaq stood up and almost hit his head
in the shallow roof of the room. He ducked under the doorway and
started to walk away. I was so busy taking care of my son and nervous
about giving him a gift and getting hid autograph I forgot I also had
a camera. I turned to Shaq, who was looking at the car again as it
was being put up on a flat bed tow truck, and said “Shaq, do you
mind if I get a photograph with you?” He said “Sure, no problem”
I asked the mechanic if he would take our picture. I then went to
stand next to Shaq. I felt like a little kid. Granted I am only 5'-9”
but he is 7'-2 plus his shoes. Funny thing is despite his big body
his head is about the same size as everyone else. If you look at his
hand it is absolutely huge resting on my shoulder. I barely reach his
armpits. The mechanic said let me take one more. I said, “Thanks
Shaq” He smiled and went on to talk to the tow truck guy, my
brother and his mechanic. I was just still in shock. I meet Shaq, got
his autograph, a photograph with him, and he did a magic trick for my
son. Very cool day, a memory I will never forget.

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