Shaq Steals the Show at All-Star
Posted: Feb. 15, 2009
I guess this now makes him “Shaq-aWockee.”
Shaquille O’Neal tipped off 2009 All-Star Game festivities at US Airways Center with a very well-received performance during player introductions alongside the self-described “beat-manipulating” act, JabbaWockeeZ.
Donning one of the six-man group’s trademark white masks, Shaq went to work before pregame introductions, showing off the “sight for sound” dance moves for which the group is so well known.
“I wanted to do something a little different and unique,” the All-Star center said. “They are the best dance crew out there, just wanted to be different. I realized that this may possibly be my last (All-Star), so I wanted to make it memorable for myself and for the fans.”
Receiving a verbal A-plus for his performance from fellow game MVP Kobe Bryant, the big man also got rave reviews from his pregame partners up on stage.
“With Shaq, it was cool,” said JabbaWockeeZ member Rainen Paguio. “We didn’t really even have to choreograph anything for him. He was all ready to dance with us. The stuff he did, that was his stuff. That was all him. He’s such a big guy, to see him rip like that and to see him do those moves was amazing. The introductions for the players… we never thought we’d be at the level to be up there introducing all these guys.”
Kicking off a national tour with New Kids on the Block next month, JabbaWockeeZ are no strangers to working with professional athletes, most recently appearing in a Gatorade commercial with Kevin Garnett and Derek Jeter.
“We knew Shaq was a fan” Paguio said, “and we saw a Youtube clip of him and son dancing with the mask. We knew they were fans of JabbaWockeeZ, and, of course, we’ve always been fans of Shaq, as well. He’s multitalented. He has moves. He’s a natural, and he even taught us some moves.”
For more information on JabbaWockeeZ upcoming tour or their new clothing line, check out Jbwkz.com
Legend… For Two
It’s official. Grammy winner John Legend is now a two-time NBA All-Star.
The singer made his second All-Star Game appearance Sunday, once again providing the halftime entertainment.
“I’m a big sports fan, so it’s cool to be here,” Legend said. “It’s a great event, and I’m a big NBA fan. I get a little star struck around the players, but it’s cool. These guys are just having fun. You can tell. I like it when it comes playoff time, and they get serious, but this is fun.”
Legend also provided entertainment at a Steve Nash roast last year in the Valley.
“Steve was great,” he said. “He was very welcoming in hosting us there. We had a good time, but those players make me feel real short. Being around 6-9 guys, it’s really deflating.”
With the start of Cactus League just around the corner, Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Joe Torre took a break from the start of spring training to check out all the action at US Airways Center this weekend.
“The NBA does the All-Star thing as good as anybody and probably better than anybody because they have the ability to do things others sports can’t do,” Torre told Suns.com. “These guys are going up and down the court, and they are so talented. They respect each others’ ability, so they understand the show they are putting on for fans.”
Admittedly a “transplanted Easterner” since leaving the New York Yankees, the Dodgers manager grew up watching the Boston Celtics.
“I see Bill Russell over there,” he said, “and my team concept of managing came from rooting for the Celtics in the 1950s. If you look at their ballclub, one guy would score 20 points a game, and everybody else was in the teens. They also shared the ball very well. The big would be 7-2 instead of 6-9. The game has changed quite a bit, no question about it.”
Coaching baseball superstar Manny Ramirez last season, Torre knows talent when he sees it. And it was no different watching the Suns’ representation in the game.
“I’m in awe of Amar’e Stoudemire,” he added. “You can watch it on television, but not until you get here in person do you realize the athleticism this guy shows. This kid can play some basketball, and do it with such ease. That’s what is so scary to me.
“Shaq is a mountain. I saw him last night in the white suit and I said, ‘goodness gracious.’ Talk about getting attention. That’s one thing basketball can do that baseball can’t -- put one guy out on the floor and make a huge difference. Shaq is that kind of player.”
Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t the only Suns-themed pregame entertainment on tap at the All-Star Game.
Grammy-nominated R&B singer Tamia Hill performed “O Canada.” With dual North American citizenship, she considered it an honor to perform in front of the Phoenix crowd and her family, even if she did have a few butterflies.
“I was nervous more because I was singing in French,” Hill said. “And the heels I had on. I was nervous about those with the floor, but other than that I’m glad it’s over with.”
Her husband Grant added, “She was great. A little English, a little French – she was good. She’s a pro.”
Actor Seth Green on All-Star Weekend
“It’s been very exciting. We came to see Mr. Devin Harris. I love him, absolutely love him. It borders on obsessive. I’m concerned he’s going to get a restraining order.
“Shaq and Amar’e are really good players. That’s why All-Star is so fun. It’s a bunch of guys who are really good that are having fun playing.”