The NBA has seen a number of great players throughout its history. Still, when asked “who was the greatest of them all”, one can unhesitatingly say “Shaquille O’Neal”. 216 cm high and weighing 147 kg, he was extraordinary due to his not only professional accomplishments and excellent play, but also, as you see, his physique. During the 19 years of his career, O’Neal has become a 4-time NBA champion in 6 teams, scoring 28596 points and making 13099 rebounds. Few can match him on the court. Neither is it easy to catch up with him in everyday life. Being one of the most successful players, Shaq was also one of the first to create a public image for himself – an imperative for all sportsmen today, but a seldom occasion back then in the 90s.
In a period of 4 years, O’Neal managed to feature in 2 films, namely, Blue Chips (1994) and Kazaam (1996). He released the computer fight game Shaq Fu, organized and participated in reality shows Shaq’s Big Challenge and Shaq Vs.
Playing his first match on December 2, 1992 as number 1 of the draft for Orlando Magic, he managed to find a gap between the matches against the Sonics and Lakers and appeared at the Arsenio Hall show. Instead of the suit and tie sportsmen were offered to wear while on TV, O’Neal had a red T-shirt and baggy pants on. After a short talk with Arsenio, he took up the microphone and performed his first song named What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock). On the next day, Jive Records offered him a contract for recording 2 albums.
Soon What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock) entered the top 40 and a year later he released his first Shaq Diesel album, which got a platinum despite a popular view in the USA that treated NBA players as poor rappers. “Of course, Shaq is easily the best rapper in the NBA. “Unfortunately, that’s something like being the best bobsledder in Jamaica,” said Entertainment Weekly writer David Thigpen.
O’Neal released another 3 albums, but failed to gain the success he had had with the first one. He started to bore. Speaking of the songs of the latest album, editor of Complex Callahan-Bever wrote that all 19 songs on the album “straddle the line between mediocre and unlistenable. Shaq also thought it was his last album. However, when asked at last year’s press conference on Reddit whether he would ever have a comeback to rap and release a new album, his answer was curt “2019, November”.
One might think he is a semiliterate basketballer player, whose crude fingers have accidentally touched the wrong keys. That would be wrong. O’Neal has acquitted himself as a witty rapper, who manipulates both the basketball and the words.
◊ Shaq Diesel – October 1993, sold 864000 copies, Platinum album
◊ Shaq Fu: Da Return – November 1994, sold 271000 copies, Gold album
◊ You Can’t Stop the Reign – November 1996, sold 207000 copies
◊ Respect – September 1998, sold 104000 copies
On January 20, 2015, a special event took place in the police department of Doral, Florida. The 42-year-old O’Neal took the police officer’s oath in the presence of the country sheriff and the mayor of Miami and became a reserve police officer. To make this come true, he had passed a series of tests and exams during 6 months. However, the Doral police chef’s single worry was, as he said, how they were going to get a uniform to fit O’Neal’s size.
Working for the police was not new for the basketball player, who had, while still active in sports, persecuted, seized and handed lawbreakers to the police. Both of his uncles were police officers, his stepfather – sergeant in the army, inspiring the little Shakil to follow the law enforcers’ path in his later life.
Before taking the oath in Doral, Shak had managed to work for the police departments of Los Angeles, Florida and Arizona, getting involved in the program of preventing and investigating internet crimes against children.
Shaq has come to Doral with a special mission. He will not be a mere policeman, but will become a public figure to positively alter the policemen’s image in the society, which, as Shaq himself stated, perceived the former quite negatively in his childhood years.
O’Neal has assumed this task without expecting any monetary remuneration. In the long run, he aims at the office of the Florida police chef.
◊ Phil took us to the finals three out of the five years and you want to fire him and want to bring in Mike Krzyzewski? Come on, man. That’s like being married to J-Lo, then dropping J-Lo for a girl that’s 5-10, 480 (pounds).
◊ Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God’s way to say nobody’s perfect.
◊ Generals don’t panic; then the troops never panic.
◊ If I were a painter, you’d be calling me Shaqcasso.
◊ I’m like tax. You’re going to pay one way or the other.