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

Chilliwack Chiefs erase three goal deficit in overtime win

Down 3-0 to the Cowichan Capitals, the Chiefs came back to win 4-3 in the BCHL Showcase match.

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income owners in Lower Mainland

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

Most Read