is one of the most dynamic, engaging,funny, and downright dominating athletes we’ve ever seen. Now in Cleveland co-starring with Lebron James, Shaq talks exclusively to Jetset Magazine and goes public about ﬂying private.
Pound for pound and cubic square inch forcubic square inch, there has never, ever beena bigger sports star to walk this planet thanShaquille O’Neal. The ﬁrst thing you noticewhen meeting him is his mega-white smile thatcould light up a runway on a dark, cloudy nightand enough boundless energy, determina-tion, strength, and ﬂat-out horsepower that, ifyou could somehow harness it into a reusablefuel, you’d power a city the size of Seattle untilthe next Ice Age. He’s an icon in high-tops,a one-man brand and corporation that getsto wear shorts and a tank top to work everyday. Globally recognized to the point that,like Prince, Madonna, Bono, and Pele, onlyone name is needed to describe the big fella:Shaq. Plus, let’s not forget, he’s ﬂat out a hugeman! A big part of his charm is, even thoughhe stands 7 feet tall, weighs somewherebetween 320 and 360 depending on the moodof the scale that particular day, sports a size22 shoe, and wears diamond stud earringsthe size of grapefruits, Shaq seems like he’sone of us. He enjoys interacting with people hehas just met. He treats everyone with respectand dignity, whether it’s a fellow millionaire, abillionaire team owner, the team trainer, beervendor, or the guys in charge of cleaning thearena after a game.Now starring in Cleveland on probably the ﬁnal journey of his absolutely historic career, Shaqis looking to add to his collection of bling, with aﬁfth NBA Championship ring a deﬁnite possibil-ity as he teams with Lebron James to form themost lethal one-two punch of star power since,well, sorry Sonny and Cher, Hall and Oates,Siegfried and Roy, Brad and Angelina, Donnyand Marie, and Bogie and Bacall—ever.There isn’t much to say about Shaq that hasn’tbeen already chronicled, except for somethingthat everyone from high-proﬁle corporate CEOsof Fortune 500 empires to rap stars, actors,accountants, Internet entrepreneurs, grandmoth-ers, gardeners, chefs, sheiks, senior VPs, seniorcitizens, and everyone else in between willﬁnd fascinating—how one of the world’s mostrecognizable stars travels when he’s not play-ing basketball. Just how long he’s been ﬂyingprivate, what his favorite jets are, and how hecouldn’t really do all he needs to during his shortoff-season if not for the convenience of private jet travel. To be perfectly honest, though, thething I found most fascinating about Shaq duringthe exclusive interview he granted for JetsetMagazine is this: yeah, Shaq travels via private jet the majority of the time, but if you think yousee someone that looks like him going throughthe ﬁrst-class security line at O’Hare, JFK, LAX,or Cleveland-Hopkins International, you justmight be right. As we learned from the big manhimself, if he has to ﬂy commercial to get to anappointment and there’s no other alternative,he will. “I ﬂew to Cleveland from Orlando when I
Cover story by Tom Zenner