Shaquille O'Neal, Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is the Zen Master. But what does that mean? Shaquille O'Neal gave fans an idea Monday night.

Jackson and O'Neal, who helped the Lakers reach four NBA Finals and win three championships from 1999-2004, appeared on a panel with ESPN's Hannah Storm. When Jackson was asked about the team's spiritual endeavors, he took a jab at his former center.

"He used to sleep while we meditated," Jackson said.

This perked Shaq up. The three-time NBA Finals MVP recounted his early experiences with meditation.

"Phil would come in with this incense," O'Neal said. "It's called sage. When I smelled the incense, I pulled him to the side. I was like, 'Coach, I don't mean no disrespect, but that smells like weed.' He goes, 'No, Shaq. That's the cousin of cannabis.' I'm like, 'Cousin of cannabis?' We're being there high or meditated and it worked. I got to be so enlightened. He'd be like, 'OK, concentrate. I hear some of you snoring, Shaq!'"


The crowd at the Altman Building in New York City had a good laugh about Jackson's mysterious herbs. Storm related to a personal experience with Jackson.

"I got to say, last time I was in your house, you had those packets ...," she started.

Shaq interrupted. "Shhh," he breathed into his microphone. "Snitches get stitches, Hannah."

O'Neal's sense of humor was a theme of the night. In one story, Jackson referenced O'Neal coming to practice nude with the exception of his shoes.

"I don't remember," Shaq responded with a laugh.


The Triangle Offense is weird.

The panel was an exclusive American Express experience. Highlights from the discussion will appear on ESPN's SportsCenter on June 10 after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and it will appear on NBA.com on June 11.

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Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.