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Leeinks list: Shaq’s best commercials

08.09.10 at 7:07 am ET
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As many people know, new Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal makes a living out of making a character out of himself. In the past few years, he’s toned it down considerably, but in his heyday Shaq was everywhere. Not only was Shaq featured in several feature films, including “Blue Chips,” “Kazaam” and “Steel” (he also made an appearance in “He Got Game” with his now-Celtics teammate Ray Allen), but he made his way into homes every night through his many, many endorsements. From milk to soda to candy to cable, Shaq was — and still is — the NBA’s king of sales.

Through the power of online video, let’s look back on some of Shaq’s best commercials, with our minds set on seeing Shaq represent the Green on more ads in the future.

Pepsi — Playground Bully, 1993

Synopsis: Shaq, looking a bit like Gary Payton, literally breaks into a neighborhood basketball court, bends a rim down to dunk (seeing the opposite is a lot more fun) and proceeds to storm over to the cooler for a much deserved beverage. When there is no soda left in the cooler, he casually walks over to a small kid, who flat out denies him the Pepsi.

Best Moment: 0:16 — Romantic music starts to play as Shaq lays eyes on the child, giving the totally wrong impression.

Reebok — Legends, 1993

Synopsis: Shaq knocks on air, only to see Celtics great Bill Russell answer the “door.” After giving the password and showing ID, Shaq is allowed to enter another dimension. Inside we see another Celtics great, Bill Walton, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. The four legends stand to the side and watch Shaq proceed to destroy the rim, but that’s not the only thing Shaq has to do to enter the group of legends. Luckily, Shaq doesn’t have to shoot a free throw.

Best Moment: 0:17 — Seeing the four greats standing tall, with Walton obviously hamming it up.

All Sport — 1994

Synopsis: Shaq of the future tells his “grandchildren” what basketball was like 50 years ago, before 20-foot high baskets, 100-yard-long courts and moving baskets. It would still be awesome to see those things happen in the next 34 years, but it would be amazing to see All Sport last that long (yes, it is still around).

Best Moment: 0:22 — A very skinny Shaq growling like a panther.

Taco Bell — Taco Neck Syndrome, 1997

Synopsis: We’re shown that Shaq has been diagnosed with Taco Neck Syndrome, or TNS, concerning everyone from Lakers general manager Jerry West to his agent to teammates Eddie Jones and Derek Fisher. His doctor even shows us a graphic 15 seconds in … that really doesn’t show us anything.

Best Moment: 0:22 – West and Shaq’s agent sit in the stands of the Forum, watching Shaq sink every free throw with his angled neck. Showing that he really doesn’t care for Shaq’s well being, West asks an assistant to run and fetch more tacos.

Burger King — Shaq Pack, 2002

Synopsis: On what appears to be the same court as the one for the Pepsi commercial, Shaq flips fast food allegiance and supports Burger King by wearing a full-length leather coat and dark clothes while playing basketball. BK even recruits the pipes of Isaac Hayes to recreate the theme from “Shaft.” We can all still remember how many times this spot played in the early part of the decade, but no one can deny that that artery-clogging Shaq Pack looks delicious.

Best Moment: 0:20 – Shaq CLEARLY picking up his dribble right near the 3-point line … not that anyone there would be stopping him anyway.

NBA on TNT — School of Truth, 2007

Synopsis: A short, funny commercial as a camera crew captures Shaq washing up in the bathroom and shooting a balled-up paper towel from the sink. By this point, even Shaq can make fun of his atrocious free throw percentage.

Best Moment: 0:10 — A blatant look of fear as Shaq shoots, and misses, his shot.

Cytosport — Mighty Milk, 2008

Synopsis: Gone are the days of endorsing sugary drinks as Shaq now supports “milk.” In this ad, a quiet girl drinking Mighty Milk creepily watches as Shaq goes through his daily workout in the gym. When Shaq can’t take any more of her slurping, he pops up off the bench, only to see her lifting what seems to be at least 500 pounds of weights thanks to the help of the “milk.”

Best Moment: 0:25 — The payoff to the commercial, with the girl lifting the heavy weights and Shaq’s eyes literally bulging out of his head with surprise.

Vitamin Water — Horsin’ Around, 2008

Synopsis: OK, never mind that previous statement, Shaq still supports sugary drinks. In this ad that ran during 2008’s Super Bowl XLII (the one Patriots fans try to forget), Shaq saddles up as a humorously large jockey, trying to “win a crown to go with all those rings.” Shaq wins in the end by a nose, to the surprise and delight of all in the crowd.

Best Moment: 0:38 — An obvious gimmick for more laughs, the adorable kid is digging for nose gold while he ignores the fact that he still has a delicious snow cone in his hand.

Comcast — Shaq N’ Stein, 2009

Synopsis: Cable giant Comcast signs on the dry-humored Ben Stein to match up with the arrogant Shaq to create the ultimate visual odd couple. The two get handcuffed to one another and realize they’re going to have to get used to each other for the course of a year.

Best Moment: 0:54 — Shaq comes up with what turns out to be a very clever idea for a movie title, “Shaq-N-Stein.” Stein likes it and declares the overused line, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” to which Shaq announces that he loves Stein.

NBA on ESPN — Shaqtus, Scrabble, 2009

Synopsis: Saving the best for last, ESPN put out a series of ads for its NBA coverage, featuring its broadcast crew of Mike Breen, Stan Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Stuart Scott. As they road trip across the country, they interact with several different NBA stars as they show their different sides. In two of the ads, Shaq fully embraces his favorite thing, himself. In the first ad, Shaq sits down with Breen and Scott and plays some Scrabble, dominating with his own form of dictionary, showing again that nobody messes with Shaq. In the more memorable second ad, Shaq has Breen and Jackson pull off to the side of the road to show off the magnificent “Shaqtus.”

Best Moments: 0:14 — Scott asks Shaq how he got so many Q’s, to which Shaq replies, “Don’t worry about it.”

0:15 — After Jackson reveals that cactus grows in “Florida, Arizona, Southern California and Ohio,” Breen dreamily states that he has to go touch it. Shaq blocks him, uttering the memorable line, “Nobody touches the Shaqtus.” Breen, who clearly should be an actor, quickly abides to Shaq’s command.

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