Notice a large statue in The Pit of Harvard Square today? He was pretty difficult to miss—Shaquille O’Neal, the new Celtic and publicity stunt king of Boston, sat there as a living statue for about an hour this afternoon. The big man had announced his plan two weeks ago, promising to post the details of his arrival on Twitter. Then today around 1:15 p.m. the “Shaq Vs” star and now highest profile NBA benchwarmer posted that he was on his way:
THE_REAL_SHAQ: On my way to Barbara square it’s statue time
THE_REAL_SHAQ: I mean on my way to harvard square lol dam I phone my fingers r to big statue time
O'Neal's whereabouts were given away shortly before 2 p.m. by the arrival of a red van with a small Shaq logo on the back outside of Au Bon Pain. Soon enough, the 7 foot 1 inch giant emerged, sporting a black hoodie, for a quick stop at ABP and then the completion of his "statue time" mission.
As a throng of students, locals, and tourists swarmed Shaq, the NBA center showed off his acting talents honed in classic films such as “Kazaam,” smiling a few times but masking it by shifting from one classical pose to another. To the dismay of some fans and the media, he never spoke or broke his living statue promise during the hour he stayed. The one-time genie seemed at ease in his temporary role as a statue, even as police got noticeably flustered by the constant challenge of keeping some breathing space around him.
When the hour was up, The Real Shaq himself told reporters, “I can now tell everybody I went to Harvard.” O’Neal’s interest in the school is not new—he’s also gone on record as saying he could hold his own in several classes if he felt like it, since he is a “camouflage geek” (presumably, he meant to say “camouflaged” rather than imply that he is a geek for camo gear).
Though he was gone all too soon, many students got through the crowd to snap a quick picture before Shaq disappeared, his only trace a thank-you note for attendees on his Twitter account.
For those of you who missed O’Neal this time around, he will be at Celtics home games this season, where he will have a great chance to reprise his role as a master of sitting still.
Otherwise, keep an eye on Shaq’s Twitter and you may witness a Harvard return of the Shaq-tue.
Video by Sean B. Goller and Naveen N. Srivatsa/The Harvard Crimson.
Photo by E. Benjamin Samuels/The Harvard Crimson.