Every athlete in the world wants to remembered after they've hung up their jerseys for good. The best way to do that is make yourself a brand and become more than just known for your skill as a player in your particular sport. This gives you a flow of money that will keep coming long after you've retired, in addition to continuous fame. One professional athlete that's done it better than almost anyone is former basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal.
Shaq came on the scene as an NBA player and immediately became larger than life through his antics, whether he was wearing Mickey Mouse ears during press conferences or break dancing during practice when the cameras were on him. The Shaq brand is so strong that NBA TV's honoring the star with Shaq Week, celebrating the player by airing some of his classic games as well as movies and TV shows he's appeared in. To celebrate Shaq Week, we're taking a look at some of Shaw's most memorable moments.
1. Shaq's Epic Fall
One of Shaq's biggest gigs since retiring has been as a host of TNT's Inside The NBA, serving as a commentator during the network's televised basketball games. As we all know, Shaq has always been competitive and this didn't stop after he retired. When co-host Kenny Smith wants to show something a team is doing right or wrong, he gets out of his seat and runs to the giant screen behind the panel. One time, Shaq started racing Kenny to the screen, getting tripped up on electric wires and falling in a very comedic way. Of course, Shaq wasn't embarrassed by this and encouraged people to make memes of him falling. And the memes came in swarms. Here are three of the best:
2. The Birth Of Shaqita
Shaw will do anything to get a laugh. One Halloween, the sports star and his former girlfriend Hoopz (from Flava of Love) went out on Halloween dressed as a pimp and his girl. Traditionally it's usually the male as the pimp and the woman as the hooker, but what's the fun in that? Shaq put on a wig and a dress and went as Shaqita. As a guy who has dressed multiple times in drag for Halloween, Shaq, like me, does not make an attractive woman.
3. Shaq's Karaoke Fail
Back in February of 2015, Shaq stopped by Live with Micahel and Kelly. In typical fashion, Shaq had to make his appearance memorable and did so by challenging Michael Strahan to a Karaoke battle. Michael, of course, accepted Shaq's challenge. Shaq has a platinum-selling rap album and plenty of musical talent, but does Shaq do a rap song? Of course not. Instead, he performed Bill Withers' Lovely Day. Shaq may not have walked home with the trophy, but he did put on one heck of a performance.
4. Transition To Movies And TV
What's the best way to get noticed? Star in a movie. Shaq's first film role saw him play a sought after basketball player in Blue Chips. It was a smart move for the novice actor to play a role that mimicked his real life. His next step was to not be tight cast as just a basketball player. He starred in as a genie in 1996's Kazaam and as DC Comics superhero Steel in 1997's Steel, though both were critical and commercial bombs.
As time went on, Shaq began to show up on shows and movies as himself, appearing in the likes of Scary Movie 4 and Freddy Got Fingered. Why? Well, when you're Shaquille O'Neal, you become the show just by being the person that everyone loves. He's goofy and smart, and you've never heard any people on set talking about him being late or unprofessional.
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5. The Release Of Shaq Fu
In the '90s, Shaq's popularity was growing fast at the same time the video game industry was gaining a ton of momentum. Naturally the two came together and Shaq Fu was born. Gamer couldn't wait to get their hands on this game. I mean, it's Shaq in a video game. But when the game came out, we were all disappointed. Shaq-Fu was absolutely fun and funny, but it was one of the easiest video games to beat of all time. Now that the '90s games are over, we all agree it wasn't great at the time but we all jumped for joy with the announcement that sequel Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is on the way.
6. Shaq-Mania In The WWE
If there's one sport that Shaq missed his calling with it's professional wrestling. Not only was Shaq a physical specimen throughout his career, but he's always been one the most charismatic celebrities of all time. On a couple occasions, Shaq has ventured to the WWE and both times he ran up against the "World's Largest Athlete" Paul "Big Show" Wight. At one time, the two were supposed to have a match, but due to Shaq's busy schedule, the match never came to be. But who knows? With Big Show probably on his way to retirement and an 82 game NBA season no longer restricting Shaq, we still may see this match.
7. Shaq Joins Inside The NBA
Fans were pretty excited when Shaq announced that he would be joining Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and the rest of the award-winning Inside The NBA crew on TNT. And of course, the superstar entered the show with a bang that included Shaq cheerleaders, t-shirt cannons, and a ton of fireworks.
Since retiring in 2011, Shaq has continued to remain in the spotlight. You can find him on Inside the NBA arguing or having a weight loss contest with Charles Barkley or falling down trying to race Kenny Smith and making a meme contest from it, or on his podcast on Podcast One called The Big Podcast. And even after being retired for five years, Shaq manages to still get endorsement deals from things like Icy Hot and the Lincoln Motor Company (how he fits in a Lincoln is still a mystery to me). Shaq will go down as one of the greatest athletes of all time not just on the court, but off the court as well.
What's your favorite Shaq moment? Let me know in the comments below.