- In honor of Shaquille O'Neal's 46th birthday, we're celebrating his many talents, from the court to his rapping abilities to his storied career as a movie genie.
When it comes to stacking the resumes of basketball players on and off the court, there are few who can actually compare to Shaquille O’Neal. The 7’1” NBA Hall of Famer is a jack-of-all-trades who has done it all from movies, television, music, video games, sneakers and even...law?? Things are never dull when Shaq is around, and his colorful personality took the NBA's brand to new heights—he's a showman in every sense of the word. In honor of his 46th birthday, we take a look at the many shades of Shaq that make the star stand alone.
Want more Shaq material? Watch Shaq re-watch his first game as a pro at Madison Square Garden with SI's Jack McCallum,only on SI TV, on Amazon Channels.
Shaq, The Rapper
There are an absurd amount of NBA players who actually try their hand at rapping...and not many are successful: see Kobe Bryant and Tony Parker. But before Dame Lillard, Shaq was actually making studio albums (four exactly). His debut album in 1993 under Jive Records entitled “Shaq Diesel” went certified platinum and peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200. He strategically linked up with some of the most prominent producers of the era such as RZA and Ali Shaheed Mohammud of A Tribe Called Quest. Most importantly, how many rappers can say they have a guest verse from The Notorious B.I.G.?
Shaq, Everybody's Favorite Genie
Already a star on the court, Shaq easily transitioned to a star on big screen as well where he starred in some abysmal but fun movies like Kazaam and Steel. His best acting effort came in the 1994 movie Blue Chips, which starred Nick Nolte. O’Neal plays Neon Boudeaux, a “totally raw, never been coached” 7’4” specimen who avoids taking the SAT to attend college because he believes it is a culturally biased exam. He has also made TV appearances and cameos on shows such as Arli$$, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the Parkers, and The Simpsons. He will make an appearance in Kyrie Irving’s Uncle Drew movie this summer.
Shaq The Businessman
One thing about Shaq that can never be questioned is his business regime. The NBA Hall of Famer is reportedly worth over $400 million. According to Darren Rovell, he has sold over $150 million of his Dunkman sneakers. He is also an investor in Google and owns 150+ Five Guys restaurants. He used to have a soda named after him, and if you go to your local grocery store, you might just find his face hiding underneath an Arnold Palmer. He also has deals with brands such as Icy Hot, Gold Bond, Posts’ Fruity Pebbles, Buick, and a whole lot more. And though he's set for life, yes, even Shaq can make mistakes: he missed a big opportunity by not investing in Starbucks early on.
Shaq, The Biggest Star at All-Star Weekend
Shaq embodied what All-Star Weekend is all about—fun, entertaining and competitive. No one used ASW as a platform more than O’Neal, who danced with the Jabbawockeez at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, danced against LeBron James and Dwight Howard, and played one-on-one against Michael Jordan. Oh, and it's also worth noting that he's a three-time All-Star Game MVP.
Shaq, Master of Nicknames
If there's a record for aliases, Shaq has it. The Big Aristotle, the Big Cactus, The Big Shamrock, Superman, the Big Diesel are just a few of his alter egos that spring to mind.
Shaq, The Legendary Interview
In front of the microphone is where Shaq belonged. The thing that made him great was that he never held back any punches or his feelings—who can forget the postgame interview when he called the Sacramento Kings the Queens or when he cursed live on air and followed it up with “I don’t give a sh*t”. Whether he was showing a good side or a bad one, there are a few players who ever opened themselves up quite like Shaq.
Shaq, the All-Time Great Player
To know how dominant and unique Shaq was, all you have to do is look back to when the NBA named him one of the 50 greatest players in its history. He was honored alongside greats like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan...just four years into his NBA career. Spoiler Alert: The league got that one right.
Shaq and Kobe
The Shaq narrative will forever be linked with Kobe Bryant and the duo's time in Los Angeles, as they created one of the best inside-outside punches in NBA history. We all know the story behind their infamous and petty feud, but the three championships and time have healed all wounds. It was awesome to see the two talk about their time together during the Players Only special on NBA on TNT, as they shared some laughs and deep opinions about some of their petty arguments and disagreements.
Shaq, King of Inside the NBA
Life after basketball can be pretty nerve wrecking for some, especially those who reached the pinnacle in the sport. Shaq has found a home at NBA on TNT's Inside the NBA, where he has the opportunity to be himself alongside Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson. Shaqtin' a fool has become a hit on its own and his perspective on the game is well respected around the league. Plus, there's nothing quite like watching him fall off chairs over and over again.
And, when Shaq laughs, we all laugh.
If this list wasn't enough Shaq for you, keep the birthday celebration going by watching SI TV's Shaq & Jack feature, where Shaq re-watches his first pro game at the Garden, on Amazon channels.