By Zachary Swickey
Looks like Shaquille O’Neal is taking a post-retirement cue from Larry King by embarking on his first ever comedy tour. While O’Neal – along with Cedric the Entertainer – has spearheaded a few Shaq’s All-Star Comedy Jam television specials since 2009, this will find the retiree taking hand-picked comedians – Aries Spears, Corey Holcomb, Tommy Davidson, Capone, Gary Own, and Tony Roberts – out on the road for the first time.
The tour kicks off September 9 in Memphis, Tenn., and runs through mid-November. There are also plans to film the gigs for the upcoming reality show All-Star Comedy Jam Backstage Pass. Think he’s bitten off more than he can chew? You might be surprised to read about all of the “hats” he has donned over the years.
Younger fans of O’Neal may be unaware of his musical past, but the dude has five albums under his belt. His first two went platinum, while the third went gold. It seems his rapping aspirations are behind him, as it’s been over ten years since he’s released new music. In hindsight, his music holds up about as well as a Limp Bizkit record (that is, not very well), but just check out the absolutely insane A-list talent he worked with over the years: Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G., Michael Jackson, Method Man, Redman, RZA, Ludacris, Mobb Deep and Warren G.
Video Game Star
Forget O’Neal’s appearances in multiple different basketball games for nearly every gaming system, nothing compares to his starring role in his own video game. In October 1994, Shaq Fu was released for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo consoles and features the baller stumbling into another dimension, where he must battle an evil mummy (yes, seriously). He was also a special unlockable character in several different games: Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down and UFC 2010 Undisputed.
Read on for more.
After heading to the NBA three years into his college career at LSU, O’Neal fulfilled his promise to his mother when he finally received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2000 for general studies. Five years later, the star earned his MBA through online courses taught by the University of Phoenix. Beginning last year, O’Neal is now working towards getting a PhD. His dissertation topic: The duality of humor and aggression in leadership styles. Sounds like Michael Scott could’ve written it.
O’Neal’s first shot at acting was a dramatic role in Blue Chips, though he was essentially playing a slightly younger version of himself – a star high school basketball player being poached by coaches to play at their respective colleges. His next two films had a more family-friendly tone. He starred as an urban genie in Kazaam and as comic book character in Steel. Neither performed very well, but are good examples of what “not to do” in Hollywood. He also voiced caricaturized versions of himself in the animated series Static Shock and Johnny Bravo. Oh, and you may see him pop up occasionally in a Diddy or 311 music video.
While he doesn’t have his own reality show a la Steven Seagal, Shaq has been involved with the police force and had childhood aspirations of law enforcement before he hit the athletic jackpot. He even went through 1,200 hours of training at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy before eventually becoming a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police (and later the Miami Beach Police unit). In 2005, he was awarded the title of honorary U.S. Deputy Marshall.
Can you even imagine the level of fear instilled in you when a seven foot beast with legs like tree trunks is about to unleash a dropkick directly to your face? O’Neal is a longtime fan of MMA, and has trained extensively in it for years. He has frequently voiced his desire to challenge the equal beast-like Choi Hong-Man, who also towers over 7-foot tall, but the insane match-up has yet to take place.
Think you’ll check out Shaq’s comedy tour? Let us know in the comments!