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Shaq's Still Scoring in Retirement

Shaquille O’Neal’s post-athletic life is complex, random, and impressive

Photograph by Josh Anderson for Bloomberg Businessweek

A woman taps Shaquille O’Neal on the back. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asks. O’Neal is coming down the escalator at the Hyatt Regency. It’s the Friday in February before the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. The woman is the mother of LaMarcus Aldridge, a forward for the Portland Trail Blazers who is in town for the game. O’Neal stops at the bottom of the escalator to say hello. The swarm gathers in seconds. Heads turn and tilt upward. Phones come out of pockets. Hands reach. Pens appear. Voices call out. “Shaq!”