While buying Christmas presents for kids to benefit Toys for Tots last month, Shaquille O'Neal(notes) teased his next big public happening. "Oh, coming soon, in a mall nearby, bring your kids to take a picture with Shaq-a-Claus," Shaq told NESN I made some jokes about the Boston Celtics center being a sketchy Santa, you had some laughs, and it was a really fun time for all of us.
That open-to-the-public mall appearance may still be in the works, but according to Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald's Inside Track gossip column, "Shaq-a Claus" will throw a holiday party for some young Bostonians on Tuesday. And it sounds like it could wind up being pret-tay dope:
[We hear that] Celtics big-hearted Big Guy Shaquille O'Neal will play Shaq-A-Claus on Tuesday when he straps on the red suit and hat and ho-ho-hos it down to Dedham to treat 75 kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury to a holiday party at the brand-new Buca di Beppo [restaurant]. Shaq, wearing one glove, will challenge the kids to a dance-moves contest with the just-released Ubisoft video game "Michael Jackson: The Experience." Ha! Wonder if he's got his "Thriller" moves down yet?
C'mon, Track Gals. Everyone who's anyone knows that it's really all about "Bad" moves, and that Shaq most definitely has those down:
Shaq does quite a bit of kid-focused charity and community work, so this isn't shocking at all, but it's pretty rad all the same. It's also cool that he's sharing his love of the King of Pop with the kids — as Shaq told Newsweek after Jackson's 2009 death, he "grew up idolizing Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five," and the two became friends after the Orlando Magic drafted O'Neal out of LSU in 1992. In 1998, they even worked on a track together — "We Be Ballin'," a remix of the 1997 Ice Cube single "We Be Clubbin'," which was apparently intended for an NBA compilation album and the NBA's "I Love This Game" commericals but was never completed (although demos of the cut have floated around the Internet).
The only thing that would make this Michael Jackson video game-themed holiday party starring Shaquille O'Neal dressed as Santa Claus more fun would be if Vince Carter(notes) tagged along. I hear that guy's pretty into "Bad" himself.