A lot of basketball fans know the story of “Jon Contract”, or Jon Koncak, the 7-foot center of the Atlanta Hawks, who got handed a $13.2 million deal by the team. Koncak at one point was earning more money that Magic, Jordan and Larry Bird.
The fat contract however didn’t get Koncak anywhere far in NBA history. Koncak was never an All-Star, never won any awards in the league and holds a career average of 4.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg.
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA. And according to his own words, the issue with Koncak’s contract actually pushed him to pursue basketball career instead of a football one.
O’Neal was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” and explained what he loved about playing football and why he quit.
“I actually started out playing football,” O’Neal told Patrick. “I was a hell of a tight end. As you know, I have wonderful hands, my hands are impeccable, and I like to punish people. But then a guy your size, hit me in my knee one day, I was all bummed out, and my dream came true. I was sitting on the couch and Jon Koncak signs for $15 million for three years. I was thinking, ‘If I can make $5 million doing the basketball thing, I think I am going to switch up now … true story.”
O’Neal’s story however has its flaws, and it seems like it doesn’t add up. Business Insider report said the problem is that O’Neal tarted his college career at LSU in the fall of 1989, shortly after Koncak signed his contract. It would seem that O’Neal had already given up football at that point.
It is possible that there were reports about what Koncak would earn the year before or maybe O’Neal is thinking about a different player.
If Shaq’s story is true as he says, then Koncak really did help to develop a fantastic NBA career. O’Neal went on to become one of the most dominant centers in NBA history, winning four NBA titles along the way. Ironically, it was Koncak, who ended his playing career with Shaq in Orlando, 1996).
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