Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball legend. He broke records and backboards early in his career. After retiring from the sport, he took on the role of an analyst. No matter what he’s doing, Shaq is consistently one of the most entertaining athletes to ever dribble a ball. O’Neal turns 49 today. So, we’re celebrating by looking back at some of his funniest and most memorable moments from on and off the court.
Shaquille O’Neal – Early NBA Career
Before fans knew Shaquille O’Neal’s great sense of humor, they were left in awe of his skills on the court. Shaq went straight from his junior year at LSU to the NBA in 1992. O’Neal was the first overall pick of that year’s draft. He came into the NBA as a dominant force on the Orlando Magic. He earned the title of Player of the Week in his first week in the league, according to Biography. No other player had done that before. At the end of his first season, he ranked in the top ten in everything but free throws. It’s his birthday, let’s not talk about Shaq’s average from the line. The man was nearly unstoppable.
Four years later, Shaquille O’Neal signed the biggest contract in NBA history. The contract bound him to the Los Angeles Lakers for seven years and netted the big man $120 million. In the same year, he joined the USA Dream Team and helped America bring home the gold in the Olympic Games. To say his career was off to a good start would be an understatement.
Shaq Leverages His Stardom for Off-Court Fame
Shaquille O’Neal knew he wanted to be more than an all-star NBA player early in his career. So, he started leveraging his on-court acclaim to venture into other avenues of entertainment. During the early years of his career, he released a few albums, starred in some movies, and was even involved in the development of a video game.
Shaq on the Track
Shaquille O’Neal released four albums over the span of a few years. His first was “Shaq Diesel,” which hit shelves in October of 1993. The album, fueled by his rising star in the NBA, quickly went platinum. It also made the top 10 on the Billboard Hip Hop and R&B Chart. People couldn’t get enough Shaq.
He released the follow-up album “Shaq-Fu: Da Return” a little over a year later. This album didn’t perform as well. However, it was certified gold. His next album, “You Can’t Stop the Reign,” came out two years later and continued the steady decline in album sales. His fourth and final studio album “Respect,” hit number eight on the Hip Hop and R&B Chart, though. Two top-ten albums and a legendary NBA career is nothing to sneeze at. Shaq wanted more, though.
Shaquille O’Neal – Movie Star
Shaquille O’Neal has been in dozens of movies, TV Shows, and music videos. However, two of his films truly stand out. Firstly, he played a five-thousand-year-old genie who comes out of a boom box in the 1996 film “Kazaam.”
The next year, fans got to see Shaquille O’Neal become a superhero in “Steel.” In the film, Shaq plays John Henry Irons. He is a military scientist who builds himself a suit of high-tech armor as well as some amazing comic-book-style weapons.
Neither of these movies is what you would call cinematic masterpieces. They are, however, incredibly fun to watch. It was in these films that fans of Shaq first saw the superstar’s sense of humor. If you’re in the mood for something goofy to lift your spirits, seek these movies out and watch them.
The Power of Shaq Fu
Shaquille O’Neal became the star of his own fighting game in 1994. “Shaq Fu” was available on all of the major consoles at the time. The game was in the same vein as titles like “Street Fighter,” and “Mortal Kombat,” and featured fantasy-style special moves and some crazy villains. It came out to mixed reviews and has been ranked among the worst video games of all time. But, if you’re the right age, you probably remember renting or owning this game at some point. Honestly, I owned it and it wasn’t that bad. I mean, you get to play as Shaq and fight your way through a mob of henchmen before facing off against the main boss, an evil mummy. It was campy and fun, even if the controls were a bit wonky.
Shaquille O’Neal – Most Entertaining Analyst
Shaquille O’Neal has been an NBA analyst on “Inside the NBA,” on TNT for the last decade. Shaq’s most hilarious moments have come from his interactions with his co-hosts behind the commentator’s desk. In particular, his frequent shouting matches with fellow former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, never fail to get a laugh from audiences.
With such a long, varied, and legendary career under his belt, Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t take himself too seriously. No matter what anyone throws at him, he can roll with the punches and laugh it off. We could all stand to learn a lot from Shaq.
Check out this hilarious highlight reel of some of Shaquille O’Neal’s funniest moments as an analyst. The absolute best parts are his good-natured rivalry with Barkley and the ridiculous haircut he had to sport after losing a bet. These clips are guaranteed to brighten your day.