Tech Virtually Hosts NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal

Tennessee Tech’s Student Government Association hosted a live Q&A with NBA Hall of Famer and analyst, Shaquille O’Neal on April 14. The event was free to all students and was broadcast using Looped virtual venue experience. This semester, Tech has also hosted celebrity DJ Steve Aoki, mentalist Brian Ledbetter and country music duo Maddie & Tae. 

While talking about many different topics and stories, Shaq included his advice for current Tech students.

“Have fun. College is stressful and once you graduate… you are going to step into the next part of your life. Have fun, and while you are having fun be thinking about what you want to do and how you’re going to do it…strategize and maximize.”

As director of community relations in Henry County, Georgia, Shaq also touched on the current state of policing and race relations in America.

“If I was a head of a police department, the first thing I would do is have mandatory psychological training once or twice a year. Secondly, I would have courses on respect and honor. The third thing would be having culture classes. The fourth thing… I would put certain people with certain people. If you’re not from a certain area, you do not have those communicative skills for that area,” he said. 

Shaq also addressed his acting career by saying he enjoyed acting more than basketball and that the Adam Sandler movies he has been in were his favorites.

Shaquille O’Neal gives Tech students words of inspiration during the SOLO event on April 14, 2021. Photo by Laura Navarro

“Acting [more]. I have done 19 movies, and for me it’s about being at the right place at the right time… also about being kind to people. My last five movies I’ve been in are all Adam Sandler movies,” he said.

Nia Buntin, SGA executive treasurer, has interviewed celebrities for Tech in the past but was still nervous to sit down with the four time NBA champion. 

“Interviewing Shaq was definitely one of my top three favorite experiences in life. For the entire duration of the interview, I was extremely nervous and excited. While he was a really nice, friendly and personable person, I was still nervous and anxious,” Buntin said. 

Buntin also said that she appreciated Shaq’s advice that modesty and sticking to who you are is a very important part of life. 

“Shaq gave a lot of wise and helpful advice, especially for the college students tuning in on the call. One of my favorite pieces of advice he mentioned was to get as much education as you can and to invest as much as you can but no matter how much money you make to remember your core values and remain humble,” she said. 

For more information on upcoming SGA events, visit their website or social media pages.