Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA legend known for his aggressive “Shaq Attack” style of play on the court, had a close-encounter with a ferocious predator while filming a segment for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. The seven-foot-one center came face-to-face with shark when it managed to squeeze into the custom steel cage, prompting a quick evacuation.
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While filming in The Bahamas, Shaq was placed inside a custom-built, fortified steel cage, allowing him to get a close look at some of the ocean’s most fearsome predators.
During the incident, which was caught on camera, one of the marine animals managed to work its ways between the bars and begins swimming right above Shaq’s head.
Luckily for Shaq, a team of well-trained marine biologists were accompanying him during the dive. They were able to intervene, removing the shark and allowing Shaq to make his way out of the enclosure unscathed.
Shaq triumphantly announced, “I survived a shar attack, you b****es!” before taking a few minutes to compose himself.
Then, he manages to completely rebound and, according to a report by the Daily Mail, heads back into the water to continue filming.
Later, Shaq admitted that the incident was no laughing matter.
“I’m terrified of sharks,” Shaq stated. “I’ve watched ‘When Animals Attack’ one through ten. Remember ‘Jaws?’ And I live in Florida, so all the shark attacks in Florida…”
William Packer, an executive producer for the episode, said the event was “handled comically,” and provided additional insight into what happened during the filming of the segment.
“Shaq calls Kevin Hart to help him out and Kevin says, ‘There’s no way I’m getting in the water with sharks. You’re crazy. Someone who’s right for this and is totally qualified is Rob Riggle,’” Packer stated.
“We put them in several situations,” he continued “One is a contained pool at [The Atlantis resort] and there’s another situation with a seal and then Shaq is out in the ocean with Rob and wild sharks.”
“Rob basically gives him nonsense advice that doesn’t help anyone,” Packer added. “It’s hilarious. Thank god nobody got hurt. He wasn’t very helpful when it came to the science of sharks — but we had actual scientists on board for that.”
Riggle, Shaq’s cohost, also mentioned that the producers had to sew “three or four” wetsuits together to create one that Shaq could wear.