Shaquille O'Neal infamously released a number of hip-hop albums in the '90s, showcasing his enthusiasm and charisma but not much in the way of technical expertise. As a basketball Hall-of-Famer though, it hasn't had much of a lasting impact on his prolific career. However, NBC reports that Shaq has returned to the world of rhyming in a new show that focuses on poetry. Better yet, his episode is already available for streaming online.
Shaq is featured in an episode of a new 12-part TV series entitled Poetry in America, hosted by Harvard English professor Elisa New. In an interview with The Associated Press, he explained, "I've always been into poetry. I've been writing rhymes all my life." Presented by WGBH in Boston and distributed by American Public Television, the show sees Shaq among other guests recite a number of poems and discuss poetry.
One of the poems he recites in his episode of the show is "Fast Break," a 1986 poem by Edward Hirsch. With allusions to basketball, it's the perfect subject matter for Shaq. "A hook shot kisses the rim and hangs there, helplessly, but doesn't drop," the poem reads. "The first mistake I made was thinking it was about basketball," he explained. "I read it real quick and said, 'fast break, shovel passes, sure, this what I do.'"
As he explained in his interview, he says that host Elisa New broke it down for him, allowing him to further understand the poem's true meaning. "I was very astounded and very amazed," he added. "It's fun that only later as you're reading, you look back at that dedication. One line can change everything. It's about friendship, it's about caring, it's about emotions. I had missed that."