When my younger sister was in second grade, she joined the Shaq World fan club. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a fan club for everyone’s favorite Magic big man that mailed out pictures, notepads and other cheap memorabilia emblazoned with a diamond Shaq logo. Considering this was 1995, I don’t really know how she joined the fan club (probably via Sports Illustrated for Kids but I can’t be sure) but she definitely did and that has been a running joke for me ever since, literally to the point that I bought her “Kazaam” on DVD for Christmas in 2010.
This is a very roundabout way of bringing up “Kazaam,” since that’s not the kind of thing you can just bring up out of nowhere. You have to give it some grounding, a reason to care about a 16-year-old movie that got 2.5 stars on IMDB. But now that we’re talking about “Kazaam” like a bunch of normal friends who talk about normal movies, let’s talk about how Shaquille O’Neal came to be in this legendary flick.
Better yet, let’s let Shaquille O’Neal talk about how Shaquille O’Neal came to be in this legendary flick. From GQ:
GQ: [You] rapped for a second. You got into films for a second. Everyone remembers Kazaam. When was the last time you watched it?
Shaq: The other day.
GQ: Did it hold up to you?
Shaq: I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, “Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.” What am I going to say, no? So I did it.
I’m sure it is more complicated than this, but I really like the idea that the entire pitch for Shaq to star in “Kazaam” was “Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.” That’s a pretty effective little spiel. How do you say no to being paid $7 million to play a rapping genie? It’s impossible. Even a rapping genie could not grant you enough power to say no to such an offer.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this interview — which NBA players would pledge which fraternities, Shaq’s shower strategy, the fact that camera phones have changed the hooking up with groupies game — but I think it’s pretty obvious that the most important part of this piece is that we finally know the backstory to “Kazaam.” The question of “Why would Shaq agree to be in ‘Kazaam?’” has plagued us for a long time, so it’s good that we are able to put that question to bed while simultaneously answering the “Why would Shaq agree to be in ‘Steel?’” question.
Now all we need to do is figure out why he’s obsessed with the Fu-Schnickens and then we’ll be good.