The basketball legend is pivoting to the food space, and we’re here for it.
Shaquille O'Neal is a man of many hats. Four-time NBA champion, movie star, Oreo enthusiast, and just all-around mogul, O'Neal is embarking on a new venture we'll be following as enthusiastically as we've followed everything else he's done: Opening restaurants.
According to Eater LA, the NBA legend is set to open a restaurant that might be called Shaquille's—we hope it is—at L.A. Live, not too far from the Staples Center. (Eater cites an ABC license filed a few days ago that refers to the proposed business as "Shaquille's.")
O'Neal wouldn't be the first sports star to open a restaurant, nor will he be the last. This year, LeBron James has found enormous success with Blaze Pizza, which was named the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country.
And in case you forgot—how could you?—O’Neal has another restaurant in the works. In July, the basketball player announced that he is filming an eight-episode reality show (for Facebook Watch) called “Big Chicken Shaq,” chronicling his adventures opening a chicken restaurant in Las Vegas. The restaurant will be called "The Big Chicken," and he'll be serving all sorts of chicken, as you probably guessed: fried, baked, sandwiched, and more. (The Las Vegas Review Journal predicted an October opening.)
"It's going to be so much fun designing my own restaurant, and I can't imagine a better group of people to do it with than with my incredibly loyal Facebook fans," O'Neal said, per Variety. "It's an opportunity for us to collaborate together, and I know the Facebook community will offer terrific feedback."
Whether the forthcoming L.A. location of “Shaquille’s” will serve chicken, or even opens, has yet to be seen. According to Variety, O'Neal did say that he ultimately wanted to expand The Big Chicken to cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta.