Hall of Famer Shaq says he wasn’t friends with ‘Exotic Joe’

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

According to Sports Illustrated, Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has had to speak following an appearance in the “Tiger King” on Netflix. O’Neal claims that he had “no idea” regarding events that happened featuring Joseph Maldonado-Passage in Oklahoma.

The 57-year-old Garden City, Kansas native previously owned Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. Before his arrest, he claimed to be “the most prolific breeder of tigers in the United States,’ according to the New York Magazine.

Sumatran Tiger
Sumatran Tiger (Photo by Pixabay)

The New York Post is reporting that O’Neal “stopped going” to the location after finding out about “Exotic’s checkered activities.” Here is a video of Shaq at the location.

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe,” O’Neal recalled. “We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ food and all that. We take pictures with [the] tigers. We went back a couple times.

“Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, then, actually, I stopped going.”

The basketball legend was on the first episode of the show. Netflix has a seven-episode series that will profile this man.

Passage was found guilty in a court of law for illegally selling tiger clubs. In addition, he was also sentenced to 22-years in prison following a conviction in a murder-for-hire plot in January 2020.

“I love tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love white tigers. I met this guy-not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

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