Photo: Touchstone Pictures, J. Michael Jones (iStock)

Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal—a man primarily knows as a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, star of a Facebook Watch reality show about his chicken restaurant chain, and musician performing at a Lollapalooza after-show—will now add one more title to his illustrious resume: he’s the new face of Papa John’s.


Papa John’s, remember them? Remember the namesake John, John Schnatter, that guy who said some stupid racist shit, launched what’s ostensibly a conspiracy theorist website, tangled himself in litigation, and finally—maybe?—left the company for good? The chain pizza company, which had both a bad PR and bad financial 2018, has brought on O’Neal to join its board of directors. According to CNN, the company is paying the NBA hall-of-famer $8.25 million over three years for his endorsement. It’s welcomed news for the beleaguered chain, adding to it receiving a $200 million investment from a hedge fund in February.

Read O’Neal’s letter/press release here, which features the revelation that he created a pizza called the Shaq-eroni. What is it? Is it a pizza with an obscene amount of pepperoni? Also as part of the deal, O’Neal will be an investor in nine Papa John’s franchises in the Atlanta-area.

Thank you, Shaq. Oh, not for any pizza-related reasons, but for giving us another excuse to post this GIF.


Kevin Pang was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace on Netflix.

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