In the hard-and-fast world of professional sports, retirement tends to come early. You're in your mid-30s, with more than half your life left to live and, usually, a f*ckton of cash to play with – where do you possibly go from here? For many, the transition into coaching is a seamless one, while others opt for a move into acting, TV punditry or even politics, among other bizarre career choices. Mike Tyson became a pigeon keeper. David Beckham became everyone's dad crush. Dennis Rodman? The freakin' accidental US ambassador to North Korea.
And now for the latest twist in post-playing career paths – basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal is a DJ, and he's coming to Beijing next month to slam-dunk euphoric EDM into your ear drums under his pumped-up guise of DJ Diesel.
Back in 2011, at the ripe old age of 39, the seven-foot NBA star finally called time on an illustrious 19-year career that saw him finish in the division's top 10 highest point-scorers, and become widely regarded as one of the game's all-time greats. The one-quarter man, three-quarter beast was known for some aggressive play from the front to the back of the court, that often saw opponents end up on the deck, but now, in his post-playing days, he's laying it down on decks of a different kind.
You'd think that a reported handspan of more than 11 inches and giant sausage-fingers might prove problematic obstacles to intricate scratchwork, or indeed any sort of mastery of a fiddly deck, but DJ Diesel's already proven to be a big hit, taking to the stage at gargantuan Belgian EDM festival Tomorrowland
, among others. In fact, moves into the musical realm aren't actually anything new for big Shaq, who released a full five hip-hop albums back in the '90s, of which his 1993 debut
LP, Shaq Diesel
, went platinum.
Arguably well ahead of its time.
He'll be stopping off at the suitably oversized Gongti megaclub Sir Teen on June 8, before heading down to Shanghai to be the physically largest DJ on the bill at Life in Color festival. If you're worried about things possibly getting a little too lit, rest easy with this little tidbit: Shaq's other post-playing pursuits include becoming a sworn officer of the law
. Safe hands.