Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We could spend a week collecting, dissecting and analyzing all the nicknames for Shaquille O’Neal now that he’s officially a member of the Boston Celtics.
The Big Shamrock.
The Big Chowda.
The Big Leprechaun.
The Big Green Monster.
And one of our personal faves, The Big Cloverfield (courtesy of HT reader Jesse Giambatista, who explains that the alias is a “collaboration between an Irish 4 leaf clover and the movie of the same name with the ginormous space/sea creature.)
The list could go on and on, and we’re warming up to Red AuerShaq and Tip-In O’Neal. But we’ll offer up something a little different after doing a little research on the big fella. How about the Big Influential? … as in Shaq is far and away the most influential basketball player on the planet (in terms of his reach on social networking platforms) and one of the most influential athletes in any discipline.
He, and not LeBron James, is the King of Twitter, with more than 3 million followers, roughly a million more than the NBA.
That’s not just us talking. The folks at Fast Company have already worked the angle with Shaq, he’s participating in their Influence Project, exploring his Shaqprint for social media world domination in this Q&A with Mark Borden:
FC: I recently asked Twitter founder Jack Dorsey who he thought is using the platform in the most effective way, he mentioned you. He told me two things in particular. One was where you gave away game tickets to the first two people to meet you at a given place and touch you? That’s a pretty intimate thing, what made you take it to that extreme? Why was touching better than “hello”?
SHAQ: Ah… Mr. Dorsey. That is funny, and true…. I was on the Phoenix Suns then. Again, I try to do things differently than others. Not intentionally trying to be different, but truly to invite people to break down expectations. I am approachable. I guess that was what I was trying to do.
FC: Dorsey also mentioned how someone had tweeted that they thought they were in the same restaurant as you, you saw it and invited them to lunch. What made you do that?
SHAQ: Accessibility. That would be pretty rude of me to be in the same restaurant and not offer them to join me (this doesn’t mean I am always in the position to do this). It struck me that moment basically, so I invited them. They were cool, they were fans. Again, not really above any of it. Appreciated that they even care. Make it fun for someone. Make their day one to remember. I do not think about those things when I do them, but here we are talking about it now. That makes me feel good.
FC: Your bio says you’re “very quotatious” and there are times when I can feel an almost rap rhythm to your tweets. I know you have skills with a microphone, do you try to channel that flow in your Twittering?
SHAQ: I am a Quotatious genius! I add Shaquotes into everything. (Smile)
The Celtics didn’t get the “Most Dominant Ever” Shaq. They didn’t get the 15-time All-Star, three-time Finals MVP or the All-Star Game MVP Shaq, the guy that once teamed with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade to win titles.
But they knew they weren’t getting those versions of Shaq him when they signed him to that two-year deal Wednesday. They’re getting a player that’s past his prime in a league he once owned on the floor, a league that he is still a major shareholder in off the floor.
What the Celtics did get, however, is arguably the greatest salesman the league has known, in terms of appealing to the masses — hanging with and singing with Justin Bieber introduces Shaq to a whole new and even younger audience. You don’t have to like Shaq’s personality or the way he has approached his career as a basketball player/entertainer.
Just know that there are millions of folks that do.