Shaquille O’Neal has Google Alerts set up for his unique name. This is just one detail contained in Tim Graham’s piece in the Buffalo News detailing Shaq Lawson, the Bills’ first round pick, and how O’Neal came to be a fan of his.
(As an aside, I talked to Graham–who routinely comes up with interesting angles and stories–several years ago about how he goes about his work, good listen for media types).
So if you are reading this because of an alert, hi, Shaq.
The piece goes on to discuss the popularity of the name Shaquille which exploded when the LSU and NBA star came into prominence.
“It makes me feel pretty good,” O’Neal said. “When I was coming up it was an unpopular name. I got teased a lot. People would pronounce it ‘Sha-qwill,’ call me ‘Sasquatch.’ But now it’s becoming a common name.”
Lawson is the seventh NFL Shaq. There hadn’t been any before 2014.
The statistical archive site Sports-Reference.com shows no versions of Shaquille until O’Neal started playing for LSU in 1989. There wasn’t another until Shaquille Johnson played basketball at Marshall University 19 years later.
Looking for the next unusual sports star name to burst into prominence with a new generation coming of age? Look at Shaq’s teammate, Kobe Bryant. But don’t suggest that Kobe searches his own name, or he might stare a hole through you.