Shaquille O’Neal was a man of many talents who realized his rapping and acting dreams within a few years of making it to the NBA.
O’Neal didn’t have much during his childhood in Newark, New Jersey. He wanted to have it all after making it onto the biggest basketball stage of them all in 1992. The future 15-time All-Star works his or her tail to get there.
The 7-foot-1-inch, nearly 300-pound LSU sensation averaged 21.6 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game and won rebound and block titles in his three years of college before he was drafted #1 by the Orlando Magic in ’92.
But the big man’s talents weren’t just limited to a 30-yard pitch, he could rap and entertain crowds as well as hip-hop artists of his day could. The future four-time NBA champion was also a movie buff who couldn’t resist a chance when he received an offer to star in the film Blue Chips just two years after making it to the league.
.@SHAQ‘s role in blue chips summarized in 60 seconds ⏰
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 10, 2020
But we’re here to talk about his second film, Kazaam.
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Shaquille O’Neal saw $7 million for the role of Genie in a bottle and didn’t care what the script was
A year after the basketball-based film that marked his Hollywood debut, The Big Aristotle landed an offer to play a ghost who’s released from captivity in an old boombox, can rap, and apparently has three wishes granted for a child .
Weak script notwithstanding, O’Neal jumped at the opportunity because $7,000,000 was too much to turn down to play genie when he was only making around $4.8 million all year and ended up making the NBA lost the final against Michael Jordan and Co. And also worked in films has always been his dream.
“I was a moderate juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed of doing a movie,” Shaq explained in a 2012 interview with GQ. “Someone said, ‘Hey, here’s $7 million, come on in and make this genius movie.’ What can I say, no? So I did it.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 27, 2022
This film might have been one of the biggest blemishes of the great decisions Shaq has made over the years, but that fat check definitely made him realize his worth.
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It must have given him enough confidence and bank balance to become the businessman he became for years to come, while also establishing himself as one of the greatest and most dominant players of all time.