Down
enlarge shrink
Shaq named first-ever U.S. Basketball Sports Envoy to Cuba
0:44 | More Sports
Shaq named first-ever U.S. Basketball Sports Envoy to Cuba
Friday June 24th, 2016

Your teams. Your favorite writers. Wherever you want them. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.​

Basketball diplomacy is back—and this time it doesn’t involve Dennis Rodman. 

The U.S. Department of State has named Shaquille O’Neal as its first–ever Basketball Sports Envoy to Cuba, the department announced Friday. 

In a statement, the State Department said that O’Neal will serve as envoy from June 25–28. O’Neal will help lead a program that aims “to reach out to young people and promote cooperation and engagement in Cuba.”

Since December 2014, President Obama has moved to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Obama visited Cuba in March, becoming the first sitting president to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. 

In Cuba, O’Neal will lead basketball clinics for Cuban youth, according to the State Department. He will also visit important historic and cultural sites in Havana. The State Department’s full release is below. 

• Obama to Tyronn Lue: Tell J.R. Smith to put his shirt on

[tweet:https://twitter.com/weeddude/status/746415344852602881]

O’Neal, a 15–time NBA All–Star, was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year. 

- Stanley Kay

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.