Shaq Talks DJ Diesel, His Love Of EDM & The Return Of Shaq’s Fun House

Shaquille O’Neal made a legendary name for himself on the court playing for six teams over his near two-decade long professional basketball career. In 2010, he joined the Boston Celtics and announced his plans for retirement from the NBA the following year.

After attending the EDM fest Tomorrowland in 2011, it was then he really discovered his passion for electronic music. Today, the athlete takes his talents to the DJ booth as DJ Diesel. We caught up recently with the NBA Hall of Famer to chat about DJ Diesel, his love of EDM and the return of Shaq’s Fun House to Miami. (He will be returning to Big Night Live tomorrow night for a one-night performance).

Photo Credit: Big Night Entertainment Group

When you first emerged on the music scene, did you fear it would initially be perceived as a celebrity DJ stunt?

No, I wasn’t scared but I definitely knew people were going to hate. I have been DJing since my middle school days so spinning is nothing new to me. The hate is fine though, I know a thing or two about overcoming people that doubt your ability and skill. I think everyone knows now that DJ Diesel is no celebrity act. 

You retired from the NBA in 2011 and went to Tomorrowland for an adrenaline boost. How did that experience change your perception of electronic music?

To be honest, it really put electronic music on the map for me. Before then, I was spinning hip hop mostly, but then I went to Tomorrowland, met one of my music managers, and started listening to more and more EDM because it was giving me that adrenaline rush I needed. It’s a new industry shifting genre and I like that.

Did you feel that music filled a void that was missing from your life when you retired?

Music has always been in my life so I wouldn’t say it fulfilled anything since retiring, but DJing definitely did. When I perform for a big crowd, it feels just like a Game 7. When I was in the NBA, I couldn’t spin as much because of the crazy schedule, so when I retired I started to bring back old hobbies and passions and then one thing led to the next.

Photo Credit: Big Night Entertainment Group

Who are some of your favorite electronic artists who have inspired you along the way?

Every electronic act inspired me because I started with very little knowledge of EDM and now that couldn’t be further from the truth. I learned from everyone but I always respected Diplo, NGHTMRE, Skrillex, 12th Planet, SayMyName, Nitti Gritti and Flux Pavillion.

You have already collaborated with some big name electronic artists like NGHTMRE and Lil Jon. Do you have anything in the works at the moment with any other artists?

A few things…. but more on that down the line in 2020.

Photo Credit: Big Night Entertainment Group

Tell us about what we can expect to see at Shaq’s Fun House 2020 when it returns to Miami later this month.

Shaq’s Fun House is part festival, carnival and circus and we are going BIG this year in Miami on January 31 at Mana Wynwood. The lineup had to be next level so I called upon my legendary Miami friends Diddy, Pitbull and Tiesto and put them on the lineup. Then I called Diplo and DJ Carnage and locked them in, and then I DM’d Swisher Sweets and got the hottest new rapper in the game, DaBaby! The best part – everything is all inclusive, with drinks and food included, so there’s no need to even bring a credit card. Everyone knows I love STK, Coyo Taco, Pubbelly Sushi, Papa Johns, Krispy Kreme and Knaus Berry Farms so they’re all going to be there giving out free food. Throw in my carnival midway, with an absurd amount of state fair sized rides and games and you have Shaq’s Fun House.

Shaq’s Fun House sounds incredible! How do you handle all the VIPs that are coming in for the big football game?

Easy – I am flying out Wynn Nightlife from Las Vegas to run VIP. They are literally bringing Vegas to Miami to with this one and going to run their bottle service the same way they do at Club XS when I am doing my thing behind the decks there. They have this monsterous VIP deck right by the mainstage so it’s going to be a pretty epic experience. As they say, only the best at Shaq’s Fun House… don’t they say that?

Last year you opened Shaquille’s restaurant in Los Angeles. What’s up next for you?

I never stop; I always have my next trick up my sleeve and I am just waiting to unveil it. I can’t give away all my secrets.

Photo Credit: Big Night Entertainment Group