There have been few athletes who have dominated pop culture the way Shaquille O’Neal has over the past 15 years. He was one of the first to fancy himself a crossover star between the worlds of sports and entertainment. Sure, you might think that Michael Jordan was there first, dominating the NBA, sneaker market, and business worlds in equal measure, but he never did so with the wink-and-a-nod lightheartedness that Shaq did with things like Shaq Diesel and Kazaam.
(Wouldn’t be the first time.)
But the odd thing about Shaq is that as his athletic ability has diminished with age, his presence in the cultural discussion has increased. He was the first athlete to embrace Twitter, and his hubris has taken on a whole new level lately with things like his “Shaq Vs.” reality show concept. And now Shaq is throwing around his celebrity weight in a whole new way, with plans to show up at the White House and pal around with President Barack Obama - uninvited and unannounced. This could end badly for everyone.
Granted, it’s hard to take anything the Big Aristotle says at complete face value, but this would be an incredible move on the part of O’Neal. He appeared on DC sports radio’s The Mike Wise Show on Thursday to announce his plans, according to the DC SPORTS BOG:
“Hey Mike, question,” Shaq began. “Your show is based in D.C., right? All right, check this out, I got on a nice suit, I’m in D.C. paying a visit, I jump out of a cab in front of the White House, I don’t use none of my political/law enforcement connections. If I go to the gate and say, ‘Hey, I’m in town, I would like to see the President,’ do I get in, or do I not get in? Give me your answer.
“I say yes,” Wise said.
According to the BOG’s Dan Steinberg, this could all go down on Monday. How will it end? On the one hand, Shaqtus (can we still call him that?) could end up making a new friend in the highest of places. On the other, he could end up with a Secret Service sniper bullet in the back. Our money’s on Shaq winding up sitting in the Oval Office sipping a beer with the leader of the free world, Skip Gates, and Sgt. James Crowley. Hey Shaq - get that health care thing fixed while you’re there, wouldja?