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

Region’s 250th Little Free Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

PHOTO GALLERY: Cyclists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated, locals and visitors alike

Final HarbourCats home game of 2019 happening tonight at RAP

Tickets still available for Game 1 of the West Coast League finals; first pitch at 6:35 p.m.

WINE NOTES: Going gaga over B.C. Gewürztraminer

Robert Moyes offers up some interesting late-summer vino choices

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

For the Love of Fibre: Fibrations 2019 wrapup

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Tour de Victoria: Giving you the down low on detours around the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria on Saturday

Christopher Auchter’s story headed to the international stage at Toronto International Film Fest

Old Massett totem pole raising revisited in Christopher Auchter’s documentary Now Is The Time

Saanich Peninsula student scores only scholarship for Canadians offered by top U.S. music school

Stelly’s grad Isaiah Carvalhal-Smith and his electric bass off to Boston after successful audition

Yellow Wolf Powwow draws dancers from across Canada

Saanichton event a celebration of Indigenous culture

Victoria-based elephant advocate fighting to end ivory trade

Founder of World Elephant Day hopes to spread awareness, add political pressure

Most Read