The Big Aristotle. The Big Shamrock. The Big Cactus. The Big Giant. Shaquille O'Neal, the four-time NBA champion and former Dallas Cowboys fan, has switched his footballing allegiance to the NFC East division rivals, the New York Giants.
The Giants' newly drafted receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., is the focal point behind Oneal's strategic realignment as the two trace their relationship back to their LSU days; back then, Shaq and Jr.'s father, Odell Beckham Sr., were budding superstars where the latter played running back for the Tigers. Former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal announced this week that he will change his allegiance from the Dallas Cowboys to the New York Giants after Big Blue drafted wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. out of Shaq's alma mater LSU.
Shaq developed an immediate affinity towards the Giants' future first round pick and would (surprise, surprise) horse around with him throughout LSU's practice facilities including Broussard Hall and the Dungeon (an old windowless court) which is in the university's Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The new Giant, who Shaq calls "nephew", thanked the MetLife's latest, and perhaps largest, supporter via Twitter which included a Vine video link of Shaq in his current role as a TNT analyst.
The New York Giants join Icy Hot, Burger King, Radio Shack, and Javale McGee as some of Shaq's public endorsements and will be grateful for receiving his support for free.
Giants' management will hope that Shaq is a vocal follower of the franchise and can provide the team with an effective cross-sports marketing platform which can be leveraged to increase the team's publicity.
In in an ideal world, the Giants would directly benefit from Shaq's endorsement leading to an increase in ticket sales, prices, or both. Practically speaking, the Giants' will probably only receive soft or indirect advantages of the former MVP's support prompting the adage "no such thing as bad publicity", especially for free.