Update, October 12, 2020: Wow, turns out that Shaq must have as much appeal as he ever did (as if there were any doubt), because the public loved the Shaq-a-Roni pizza. According to a press release, in just under two months, sales of the extra-large pepperoni pizza raised $3 million for The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community this summer, with $1 of each purchase going directly to the organization.
“The money raised through the Shaq-a-Roni is going to incredible organizations that support causes like COVID-19 relief and the fight against racial injustice,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who is both a member of the Papa John’s board and a franchise owner. The Papa John’s Foundation will contribute to the humanitarian relief efforts of World Central Kitchen, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the minority education organization UNCF, among others. While the Shaq-a-Roni is no longer available, you can still enjoy this tribute to Shaq on the Papa John’s website.
Original post, June 30, 2020: Papa John’s has done us all a solid by ridding itself of its racist and unnervingly sweaty founder “Papa” John Schnatter and focusing instead on board member and American icon Shaquille O’Neal. Now that the company has become less sweaty and racist, it has forged straight ahead into a promising future full of Papadias (it’s a pizza, but a sandwich!). And now it’s introducing another pizza that comes straight from the mind of the Big Baryshnikov himself: the Shaq-a-Roni.
The new Shaq-sized pie is a Papa John’s standard 16-inch extra-large pizza topped with extra cheese and exactly 66 slices of pepperoni, and cut into eight slices. Remember: Shaq is 7′ 1″, weighs 324 pounds, and wears a size 22 shoe. This pie is practically a Bagel Bite to him. The rest of us should probably use some restraint when ordering this pie and share it with seven other people. However, if you can’t find seven other people to eat pizza with thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat the entire pizza yourself. Plus, $1 of every purchase goes to the Papa John’s Foundation, so you’re doing something good for the world by eating all that pizza. Look at you!
But wait, there’s more: Those who order the Shaq-a-Roni will not only be receiving a pizza, they’ll be receiving an experience. Every box is embedded with some secret technomagic (likely genie-powered) that will unveil a world of riches (or something) to Snapchat users. Just open the app, point your phone’s camera at the pizza box, and... something happens. The press release was intentionally vague about this, probably because it wants me to order a Shaq-a-Roni pizza for myself. Oh Papa John’s, you’re so sneaky.