BOSTON -- Shaquille O'Neal made his first public appearance as a member of the Boston Celtics Saturday at the UFC Fan Expo at the Hynes Convention Center, helping to promote tonight's UFC 118 at the TD Garden.
With UFC announcer (and Shaq Vs. play-by-play man) Mike Goldberg alongside, O'Neal held an oft humorous half-hour Q&A session on the venue's main stage. When fans weren't requesting pictures or autographs (which O'Neal later signed for a small group), Shaq offered witty retorts to questions ranging from his rapping abilities (he declined to freestyle due to some clam chowder stuck in his throat), to his movie roles ("I make one bad movie!" he joked in reference to 1996's Kazaam before imploring his agent to pick better scripts), and developing a Boston accent.
With regards to the Celtics, a fan asked what O'Neal's confidence level would be in bringing Banner 18 to Boston, and he confidently answered, "I'd say they're pretty damn good." O'Neal also talked about playing for a team that "includes four first-ballot Hall of Famers" in him and the Big Three, while also pointing to Rajon Rondo's ascension to All-Star status last season.
Later, fellow UFC fanatic Glen "Big Baby" Davis crashed the stage, looking fit for the 2010-11 campaign after engaging in extensive MMA training in Las Vegas this offseason. That led to more comedy, as O'Neal joked about going on the "Maury Povich Show" to find out Davis is his child ("I have a son in the NBA!" O'Neal joked while running around the stage). Davis later asked Shaq if they could be "locker buddies," sharing neighboring lockers (there is a stall open next to Davis that Rasheed Wallace occupied last season), and Shaq playfully asked him to change the term.