Shaquille O'Neal has managed to build up a stellar post-retirement career due to several endorsement deals and smart investments. Some examples can include Arizona Cream Soda, Five Guys, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, 24-Hour Fitness, car washes, Krispy Kreme, Papa Johns, and most notably, becoming the illustrious spokesperson for Icy Hot and Gold Bond Men's Lotion.
Disregarding his acting career never taking off, Shaq has been able to overcome his poorly reviewed film performances by showcasing the incredible rapport and creativity he shares with the popular Inside the NBA crew (Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley) on national television.
However, for all of the interesting discussions, the group has had on the sports talk show, there were also moments in Shaq's lifetime that portrayed him differently from the average 90s/2000s NBA player. In fact, for younger NBA fans, O'Neal and Charles Barkley might be recognized as simply the funny guys on TV. Examining some of Shaq's photos in the past 31 years, here are 15 pictures that can paint him in a different light.
15 A Jabbawockee...Supersized
During the 2009 All-Star game in Phoenix — O'Neal's last All-Star appearance — Shaq felt the urge to dance alongside the Jabbawockeez and spontaneously was able to come up with the choreography. As always, Shaq had his way with the Phoenix crowd and went on to give his fellow Jabbawockee dancers a positive experience, despite never having reached their level of team chemistry.
14 Open Court: Shaq's Most Embarrassing Moment
On Open Court, ex-NBA players were asked to share their most embarrassing experiences throughout their NBA careers. When Shaq's turn arrived, he responded by bringing up his posterization by Derrick Coleman his rookie year. Though Shaq admittingly went into detail on the shame he felt, he's had a proven track record of refusing to be on the wrong end of a joke. Nevertheless, he showed that he could handle poking fun at himself for once.
13 Shaq & WWE
O'Neal has been on the cover of NBA 2K6 and 2k7, as well as being featured in prior NBA Live games since his days with the Lakers. However, due to his numerous appearances at WWE events over the years, Shaq has left quite an impression on WWE fans to the point that they felt the need to create him in WWE 2K18.
12 Shaquille Kimmel Live
When Jimmy Kimmel needed to take a week off to prepare for his infant son's second heart surgery, Shaq stepped into Kimmel's shoes and guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Given his mediagenic profile, Shaq looked like a seasoned veteran in his monologue and guest interviews. And of course, there was no question that he was going to show up with his Hall of Fame ring.
11 Training UFC Style
Even if O'Neal is 7'1," not every professional athlete would be willing to ask for help in the art of jiu-jitsu. Let alone from someone who is nearly a foot shorter. Privately hiring a personal trainer would be the more prideful route, but given his love for MMA, that didn't stop Shaq from trying to learn professional moves from UFC's very own, Nate Diaz.
10 Riding Bikes Into The Sunset
The 80s and 90s were a different era compared to the player friendliness you see in today's NBA. Though there were a few players that became good friends off-the-court (e.g., Jordan, Barkley, Oakley) their relationships were pretty much exceptions. To see O'Neal and Olajuwon spend the 1995 summer together — just a few months after Olajuwon's Rockets eliminated the Magic in the NBA finals — says a lot about their amiability.
9 Get Ready To Read
Add published author to Shaq's résumé. Inspired by his six children and his own personal upbringing, O'Neal decided to create a children's book series to encourage more kids to read from an early age. Touching on subjects that can resonate with children at the grade school age range, Little Shaq ranked 30th under the Amazon category of books/children’s books/sports and outdoors/basketball back in 2016.
8 Sheriff Diesel
An athlete choosing to pursue a career in law enforcement is unheard of. Yet, O'Neal chose to do just that. Along with appearing as an analyst on Inside the NBA, he also opted to serve as a sheriff's deputy in Clayton County, Georgia and just recently became an auxiliary deputy in Florida.
7 Big and Tall
Besides Chris Webber, there haven't been that many NBA players who were extraordinarily tall for their age. Despite athletes normally hitting a growth spurt their last two or three years of high school, as shown in this photo, a 17-year-old Shaq was already around 6'7" when he played for Robert G. Cole High School's varsity team.
6 The Shaquille Effect
According to Sports Illustrated, in 1990, there were less than 200 people born with the name Shaquille. But by 1993, the same year Shaq was drafted by the Orlando Magic, the number skyrocketed to 1,784. This just goes to show you the influence Shaquille O'Neal — the person and player — has had on fans and the NBA community.
5 Time To Eat Your Green Vegetables
Besides not having the healthiest eating habits during his playing days, Shaq has also chosen to advertise and sell food products that are extremely unhealthy (e.g., Five Guys, Krispy Kreme, Arizona Cream Soda). As a result, for all of Shaq's benevolence, it can be slightly bewildering to see him encourage children to eat healthier by participating in a Super Sprowtz puppet show.
4 Wearing An Unpopular 04 Raptors Jersey
In the same 2004 season that O'Neal and the Lakers parted ways, interestingly enough, a disgruntled Alonzo Mourning (his future Heat teammate) was unwilling to play for the team he was traded to — the rebuilding Toronto Raptors. Was Shaq's attire just coincidental or was he subtly taking a jab at the Raptors organization, as well as recruiting Mourning to come to Miami? Anyhow, without needing LeBron's involvement, this can be viewed as passive aggression at it's finest.
3 The Original Steph Curry
For his entire career, even when he was with Boston and was a shell of himself, Shaq was a power player. He would back down his opponent, punish him with his big body, and either drop-step to dunk on the player's face or shoot a right hook. Apparently, for this particular possession, Shaq didn't feel like following his usual routine and decided to show off his shooting range.
2 The Dwarf
Shaq is 7'1" but just seeing him stand next to Yao Ming, one of the tallest NBA players in history who stands at 7'6", O'Neal practically looks like a flea. The funny thing is that as glaring as their height difference might be, the gap is nowhere near the one Ming and Shaq share with the average person on the street.
1 The Shaq and Kobe 'Players Only' Interview
At the time, no one knew that this would be the last time Kobe and Shaq saw each other in person, but when they both agreed to do a one-on-one interview on TNT, not only was it likely cathartic for both parties, but it also showed audiences how time (parenthood, age, retirement) enabled them to finally have the long-overdue conversation that reflected on their time together in Los Angeles.
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