Shaq on his Hollywood plans: ‘I want to be the next Rock’

Post-NBA life has been very successful for the four-time NBA champion

Shaquille O’Neal is already known by many names. Superman. The Diesel. The Big Aristotle. But he would like to add another to the list: Movie Star.

In “Uncle Drew,” which opens Friday, he plays one of the former basketball stars (all of them real pros under heavy old-man makeup) reunited by Kyrie Irving’s titular character (first created for a TV ad) to compete in a street-ball tournament at Harlem’s Rucker Park. Shaq’s character, known as Big Fella, is found running a martial arts dojo.

But post-NBA life has been far more successful for the four-time NBA champion. He’s an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” a popular pitchman and an active entrepreneur and investor. He has dabbled in everything from professional wrestling to law enforcement. He’s even a voice setting on the Waze navigation app. This summer he will tour under the name DJ Diesel.

“Uncle Drew” is just one of the projects that the 46-year-old O’Neal has going. Among his favourites is a TBS show he’s developing with Ken Jeong. Comparing their chemistry to Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, O’Neal says it will be “‘Seinfeld”-epic-ish.”

In an interview, O’Neal spoke about his big plans in Hollywood, why the NBA has gotten soft and where he hopes LeBron James lands this off-season.

AP: What do you miss about playing in the NBA?

O’Neal: I miss all of it. I miss interacting with the fans. I miss having the unexpected adrenaline rush, the doubts, the fear, overcoming the fear. I miss everything.

AP: Do you play anymore?

O’Neal: No, not at all.

AP: How come?

O’Neal: I ain’t got it. Right now, I’m relinquishing all my powers to my son who’s going to UCLA .

AP: That’s a shame. I’d love to see you and Charles Barkley play one-on-one.

O’Neal: Yeah, Charles would lose.

AP: Your post-NBA career has been uncommonly busy. Why?

O’Neal: Seventy per cent of all professional athletes have nothing, not even a job, after they’re done. The fact that I couldn’t even call a franchise to get an interview to be a coach frightened me. So nothing was simple. Educate yourself, be nice to people and save your money. If you do that, you should be OK.

AP: You have numerous TV shows and films in development. What are your Hollywood aspirations?

O’Neal: I want to be as big as Rock.

AP: Dwayne Johnson is the biggest movie star on the planet. That’s setting a high bar.

O’Neal: We come from the same place: athletes that transition. That’s my goal. I want similar type movies. I want to get thrillers. I want to get dramas. I want to do comedies. I want to be the next Rock. I want to do a thriller where I’m like a hero and beat up all the bad guys.

AP: It’s been 24 years since your big-screen debut, “Blue Chips.” Do you feel like a veteran actor?

O’Neal: Well, I have shot 15 movies. I always tell my friends I shot 15 movies but they say, “Yeah, but if you play Shaq in nine of the movies, that’s not really acting.” I say, “You make a good point.” I’m just happy to have the opportunity.

AP: Favourite movie?

O’Neal: Oh, “Stepbrothers.” All day, every day. I know that movie by heart.

AP: What else do you like?

O’Neal: I just got done watching “Justice League.” I thought it was pretty good. But they held Superman out too long.

AP: In vogue in today’s NBA are big men who can shoot from the perimeter . Could you have developed a three-point game?

O’Neal: No, I would have played the same way. Because you can’t score 40 points a night shooting jumpers. Nobody has, nobody will. But you can score 40 points a night shooting 60, 70 per cent inside the paint. The fact that guys are shooting jumpers, that’s just telling me they don’t like physical contact. Shooting jumpers is easy. Anybody can shoot a jumper. But can you bang a guy four of five times and then still have enough to score two points for your team?

AP: You think the league has gotten soft.

O’Neal: Of course.

AP: The Lakers are rumoured to be a likely landing spot for LeBron James. Do you want that to happen?

O’Neal: I just want the Lakers to be like they were back in the day. I want somebody that can beat Golden State. Golden State has turned into madness. The thing that would make me very excited is if LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard came to the Lakers. Then you’d have problems in the West. Then basketball would be fun again.

AP: Have you ever talked to Kyrie Irving about his flat Earth beliefs ?

O’Neal: No, because I said it too. But I was playing.

AP: You were in make-up for four hours a day for “Uncle Drew.” How did you pass the time?

O’Neal: Sleep. When I woke up, it still wasn’t done.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Preliminary inquiry set in Stettler for co-accused Anderson and Vance

Pair targeted by newly formed RCMP Crime Reduction unit

U16 Stettler girls win gold in provincials

Forever the ‘Come back Queens’

Teckla Anderson’s legacy lives on in Stettler

150 youth from central Alberta participate in basketball camp

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

WATCH: 2018 Westerner Days Parade brings 1000s to downtown Red Deer

The parade begins five days of western fun and culture in Central Alberta

Kitten OK after being rescued from underground pipe in B.C.

An adventurous feline has been rescued after getting trapped in an underground pipe in Kamloops, B.C.

A day after back-tracking, Trump defends summit performance

Amid bipartisan condemnation of his embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, Trump at first sought to end 27 hours of recrimination by delivering a rare admission of error Tuesday.

Thai soccer players rescued from cave meet the media

Members of the Thai youth soccer team who were trapped in a cave have left the hospital where they have been treated since their rescue.

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a ‘pedo’

Musk called a British diver involved in the Thailand cave rescue a pedophile to his 22.3 million Twitter followers on July 15.

Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

RCMP Major Crimes South make arrest in Red Deer homicide investigation

Gabriel Juma We Agotic of Red Deer arrested in Calgary

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.