Kevin Liles/The New York Times

The NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal will be featured in a pre-Virtual Slope Day event as DJ Diesel.

May 4, 2021

NBA Star Turned DJ Shaquille O’Neal to Perform in Pre-Slope Day Event

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DJ Diesel, also known as four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, is slated to perform for Cornell’s pre-Virtual Slope Day celebration. 

The Cornell University Program Board and Slope Day Programming Board added O’Neal to this year’s lineup last week. The basketball star turned DJ will perform a virtual set for the Cornell community on May 7 at a pre-Virtual Slope Day event followed by a Q&A session.

Slope Day headliners will follow on May 14 and 15, which include R&B singer Ari Lennox and Australian garage-rock band Last Dinosaurs

Shaquille O’Neal, popularly known as Shaq, is one of the most decorated NBA players of all time. After playing for Louisiana State University, O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1992. 

Over his 19-year NBA career, he went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. 

But his career has always ventured beyond sports into business, acting and music. His debut album Shaq Diesel went platinum after its release in 1993, and he went on to release five more albums. 

O’Neal started learning to mix music in high school and began his DJing career in his days at LSU, when he would DJ at parties and university events. O’Neal has said that music and sports have always gone together for him, from listening to music in the locker room to making beats after practice. 

After retiring from the NBA in 2011, O’Neal has been producing his own electronic music and has performed at major festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago and Tomorrowland in Belgium. It was at Tomorrowland that O’Neal developed an interest in the EDM genre and has since emerged as an innovative and dynamic performer on the dubstep scene. 

O’Neal even created his own music festival called SHAQ’s Fun House in Miami, which Forbes described as “equal parts carnival, circus and music festival.” The event, seen as a major  step in his transition from basketball player to DJ, featured hip hop stars like T-Pain and Migos, and EDM stars like Tiësto and Diplo.

“There’s two things that bring people together; that’s sports and music,” Shaq said in a 2018 Forbes interview. “I happen to dominate at both.”

Students can register for the event here.