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Shaq’s Career as “DJ Diesel” Grows His Legend Even More
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Shaquille O’Neal is an entertainer at heart.

The four-time NBA champion will take on anything that has to do with performing. He most notably put on a show on basketball’s biggest stage during his 19-year NBA career primarily with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat. He put out a few rap albums and starred in some Hollywood masterpieces.

Among his many nicknames including The Big Aristotle, Superman, Shaq Fu, Shaq Diesel, and the The Big Baryshnikov, O’Neal goes by DJ Diesel when he’s behind the turntables.

Shaquille O’Neal as “DJ Diesel”

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The basketball player’s interest in spinning can be traced back to his teenage days. He loved listening to hip-hop DJs and wanted to give it a go himself.

He was able to purchase a setup after earning $200 doing chores around his neighborhood and learned the ropes. To earn some extra cash in high school and college, O’Neal played gigs.

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According to an interview with HoopsHype, the NBA Hall of Famer frequently played events and in the locker room for his teammates during his time in Baton Rogue.

Bryan Kalbrosky: “When you were at LSU, were you DJ’ing parties and events and the like?
Shaq: “All of the time. Big parties, too. 100, 200, 500 people. Clubs, too.”

DJ Diesel’s list of performances include Lollapalooza in Chicago and Tomorrowland in Belgium. He also played a soldout show of 1,400 people for Boston’s Big Night Live event in January 2020 and hosts Shaq’s Fun House — a music festival, circus, and carnival — in Miami.

Shaq’s DJ sets have transitioned from hip-hop and R&B to dubstep, bass music, and EDM. He says he enjoys all types of music and found love for electronic music by attending the now-defunct TomorrowWorld festival in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia — a small town outside of Atlanta — in 2015.

“To be honest, I didn’t really appreciate and understand the depths of electronic music until [attending TomorrowWorld],” O’Neal told EDM.com. “Being there revitalized a sense of urgency and passion inside of me that I’ve been craving since dunking on a defender’s head in the postseason.”

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Shaq was gearing up for a mainstage festival run before the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt. During quarantine, the O’Neal household turned into Club Diesel when he performed for his sons and their friends.

The 15-time NBA All-Star equates DJing with a Game 7.

“The crowd is going wild. They’re waiting for you hit your shot, Shaq told HoopsHype. You give them a shot of a banger and you get them to go up and down. And you just keep going. You break them down then call a timeout. Let them get their breath. And then you break them back up. There are four full quarters of DJ’ing.”

Look for DJ Diesel to perform along the likes of Tiësto, Skrillex, and Diplo once things start to open up. He’s the tall one.

MORE: Kevin Hart Used Stilts to Impersonate Shaq in Hilarious SNL Skit

Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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