Jabbawockeez Recall All-Star Performance with Shaq

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by Matt Petersen

Normally, the world-renowned Jabbawockeez dance group gets invitations to perform for someone.

In 2009, they got a different request altogether. For an All-Star Game hosted by his own team, Shaquille O'Neal wanted them to dance with him, with the Big Shaqtus himself at the center of the routine.

"It was all Shaq," Phi Nguyen laughed. "He came up with the choreography, everything. He told us what he wanted to do, how we'd pop, lock, freeze, everything."

Nguyen, a long-time member of the once-fledgeling, now-famous dance group, returned to his native state of Arizona earlier this week for a special halftime performance on Tuesday. As soon as the topic of O'Neal's performance came up, a grin immediately broke out across his face.

"I grew up here, man," Nguyen said. "I used to watch the Suns and the NBA all the time. I never thought I'd be dancing with Shaq at the All-Star Game."

The experience was a break from the group's norm, which usually includes internally created routines. For one weekend, though, they were happy to let Shaq handle the Jabbawockeez dance reins.

"He was great," Nguyen said. "He's just as funny as you'd think he is watching him on TV. He had us cracking up, but he definitely brought it when we were on stage."

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