Shaquille O'Neal is one of the biggest mainstream crossover stars to ever come out of the game of basketball. We talk about many era-defining players that made an impact both on and off the court. In terms of commercial appeal, very few in basketball history can even come close to Shaq.
He was an affable giant, with a killer sense of humor. He earned his platform and notoriety by being one of the greatest players to ever live, but he has sustained his popularity and prosperity by making a name for himself outside the game. That came with O'Neal being one of the most brand-happy superstars of his era.
While Shaq was a household name in Los Angeles, he came across many TV opportunities. One that he followed up on was appearing on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. O'Neal is a massive 'Seinfeld' fan and couldn't resist the chance to meet Larry David. In Season 2 Episode 8, Shaq gets injured by David mid-game after David stuck his foot out and tripped 'Big Diesel':
Shaq didn't realize that 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' would not script what he had to say, and instead encouraged him to be himself in the episode:
"When I got there I was told, there’s no script,” he recalled. “I was like, ‘What do you mean there’s no script?’ I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ They were like, ‘Shaq just be yourself.’ So we came up with that. And we still talk about it to this day.” (h/t Cheat Sheet)
Shaq has spoken about his appearance on the show before and was overjoyed to be working with a comedy icon like Larry David. The rest of the episode follows David trying to make it up to the city of Los Angeles for injuring their star center, eventually mending fences with Shaq by giving him a box collection of every single 'Seinfeld' episode.
The legendary center has since made appearances in several shows and movies, with some examples being Grown Ups 2, Kazaam, Freddy Got Fingered, Scary Movie 4, and Jack And Jill, among others.