The Personality

  LSU inducts Shaq into
athletic hall of fame

A 900 lbs. bronze statue is huge, even by Shaquille O’Neal standards. So, when the LSU Athletic Department debuted its homage to the The Big Diesel outside the men’s practice facility this past September, even the man himself was in awe. The statue, which features O’Neal executing one of his thunderous two-handed jams, is taller than Shaq and nearly three times as heavy. After the statue was unveiled in front of a giant purple LSU banner that had been retrofitted with a Superman logo, Shaq was uncharacteristically at a loss for words.

“I’m honored. I’m humbled,” he said. “There’s been a lot of great athletes that came through this University, a lot that were greater than me...I’m just honored that they chose me to make a statue of.”

O’Neal, was inducted into the LSU Hall-of-Fame in 2000, spent three years with the Tigers before leaving to turn pro. In that time, he averaged over 20 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. He was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and First Team All-American. And he was the AP National Player of the Year in the 1990-1991 season.» Read More

Despite leaving school early, Shaq returned in 2000 to complete his degree in general studies as he had promised his mother he would. Surrounded by current and former LSU team members, Shaq reminisced about his time in Baton Rouge. He spoke of fondly of Coach Dale Brown and the great food, nightlife and football games he enjoyed while attending the university. And even though he’s won NBA titles, MVP Awards and Olympic Gold medals, Shaq called the statue ceremony at LSU “one of the top two moments in my life.”

  Shaq Retirement Party
at The Palms

How do you celebrate a 19-year NBA career that includes 4 Championships, 3 MVP Awards, 15 All-Star appearances and roughly two dozen nicknames? Two words: Vegas, baby! On June 25th, three weeks after he announced his retirement on Twitter and Tout, Shaquille O’Neal stepped out for the evening at the Palms Casino Resort.

Following a huge feast at the hotel’s Nove Italiano, Shaq and his large group of friends shifted their party to a VIP table at the swanky Moon nightclub. Premium champagne and top shelf tequila flowed while highlight reels of Shaq’s career played on screens all over the club. Never one to shy away from the mic, Shaq held court for half an hour accompanied by DJ Exodus. The performance even included a tribute to Michael Jackson with a medley of his songs.

In the midst of all the Shaq-related decorations, there was a big cake complete with a basketball, Superman logo and a banner congratulating The Big Diesel on all his accomplishments.» Read More

Of course, Shaq always draws a crowd. Even among celebrities. New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and illusionist Chris Angel were among the attendees. And renowned entertainer DJ Pauly D had the party rocking all night long.

  Shaq Retirement

“We did it. Nineteen years baby. I want to thank you very much, that’s why I’m telling you first, I’m about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon.” With those words to his over 4 million Twitter followers on June 1st (via new video service Tout), Shaquille O’Neal told the basketball world that he was through. After a tumultuous year with the Celtics that saw him miss two months with an Achilles injury only to suffer another injury just minutes after returning to the lineup, Shaq realized that it was time to call it a day.

Two days later at his official retirement press conference with media members from all over the country, O’Neal opened by pretending to receive a call from the New York Knicks asking him to come interview for the GM job. He then went on to thank his mother and father for keeping him on the right path and his brothers and sisters for putting up with him. He thanked his children for being understanding of his busy schedule and his many friends for standing by him. Having played for many great coaches over his career, Shaq singled out three, Dale Brown, Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers for teaching him how to focus on the game and to put the team ahead of himself.» Read More

He offered special praise for all the fans that cheered him throughout his nearly two decades of professional ball. Then, he closed by thanking the media for giving him a platform to have fun and entertain people the way he always knew he could.

  Shaq Poses As Statue
In Harvard Square

There are lots of ways to make friends when you’re new in town. You can host a party or invite some people for coffee or maybe have a barbecue. Or, you can do what Shaq did and pose as a statue in one of busiest places in the Boston area.

While he was a guest on a Boston radio in the fall of 2010 just a couple of after signing as free agent with the Boston Celtics, Shaq remarked that he’d like to go to a public place and pose as a statue for a little while. A few weeks later on October 21st, he made good on his promise. After tweeting that he was on his way to Harvard Square and that it was “statue time,” Shaq showed up around 2pm and settled himself on a bench between the MBTA station and Out of Town News. There, he clasped his hands together and arranged his face into a serious pose as fans began to swarm around him. » Read More

For nearly an hour Shaq allowed people to take pictures with him, put their arms around him and, in some cases, rest their heads on his shoulder. Although he never spoke, he did smile a few times at the comments people made. Then, when he decided it was time, he rose and departed.

Shaq said he got the idea of being a statue from watching a TV special about the British Royal Guards. He was impressed by the way they were able to stand stock still no matter what was going on around them. Regardless of where he got the inspiration, Shaq made a big impression on Boston without saying a word.

  Shaq vs. Justin Bieber

One stands seven-foot-one and weighs 300 pounds. The other stands just over five feet tall and weighs 100 pounds soaking wet. If this were a prizefight, it would be a massacre. Luckily for Justin Bieber, his competition against Shaq was only a dance-off.

Bieber, he of the windswept hair and lilting voice, appeared on Shaq’s reality show, Shaq Vs., to compete against Shaq in, among other things, a dance contest. Justin seemed overly confident going in against The Big Baryshnikov, but quickly realized he was in for a battle when he saw Shaq practicing with his dance team.

The freestyle dance-off got off to a rollicking start with Shaq busting out a few well-choreographed moves including a forward roll into a break dancing pose. A stunned Bieber quickly recovered and showcased a few moves of his own, including one where he stole the hat from one of Shaq’s dancers and used it as a prop in a show-stopping turn.» Read More

Not to be outdone, Shaq showed off some nifty footwork that culminated in him stealing the hat back and flipping it up onto his own head in one smooth motion as an astounded Bieber looked on.

Game, set, dance-off: Shaq.

  2009 All-Star Weekend:
Dancing with The Jabbawockeez

When you’ve been an NBA All-Star 15 times, the player introductions can get pretty tedious. So, what do you do to liven things up a bit? If you’re Shaquille O’Neal, you enter with the world-famous dance crew Jabbawockeez and perform to club music while wearing their trademark white mask.

Since the 2009 All-Star Game was in Phoenix, home of The Big Shaqtus at the time, O’Neal decided to mix his passion for hip-hop with his love of basketball. The result was an entrance unlike any the All-Star Game has seen before or since. Looking like a giant among the diminutive Wockeez, Shaq worked it out to the tune of “Hero” by Nas. As he spun around the small stage and bounced in synchronicity with his adopted crew, the fans at the US Airways Center went crazy.

After tearing off his breakaway warm-up pants, Shaq did another turn around the crew and then made way for the All-Star starters. In a haze of dry ice and laser lights, the rest of the team made their entrances. » Read More

The whole crowd was buzzing for several minutes after the lights came up and the game began. Even MTV was impressed, calling the performance “a very welcome homage to the days of breakdancing, with a little Shaq-Fu funk.”