"I'm not ashamed to say I'm a geek at heart." No, that wasn't Jared Leto talking, but Shaquille O'Neal. The retired NBA champion said it earlier this year when he was on a panel talking about his love of wearable tech. Turns out, it's not the only proof he's a geek slash techie extraordinaire. Nope, back in the day, he would actually call up Steve Jobs to get Apple products in advance. That seems only natural, considering we know that when it comes to tech and exciting new gadgets, Shaq always feels like a kid in a candy store. Here's why.
He Spends $1,000 a Week on Apps
No big deal or anything, but Shaq probably spends more money per week on apps than on food. (OK, maybe that's a stretch considering his size.) Still, it's A LOT. "Honestly, I probably spend $1,000 on apps a week," he said in a South by Southwest interview. What types of apps exactly? "Last week I bought, like, 20 deer hunter games." Hey, whatever floats your boat.
As the world's biggest geek, I know things...the most popular app of 2014 will b... http://t.co/9WmxHQOjOh. At 2pm I'm giving away $500
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) December 18, 2013
He Buys iPhones 50 at a Time
Every time a really cool gadget comes out, Shaq buys 50. Not even joking. Then he gives them to his kids, his employees, and random people on Twitter. Nice guy, that Shaq. His most recent splurges? Monster speakers and power cords. But he also does this ritual every time a new iPhone comes out, and you can bet he'll do it when the iWatch comes out as he's pretty much been looking forward to it since forever.
More evidence that he's gadget obsessed: he never leaves home without two phones — the iPhone and the Sony Xperia Z, the latter for its smaller size and camera pixels.
He's a Smart Tech Investor
Did you know Shaq was a pre-IPO investor in Google? Smart move. More recently, he also invested in Tip Solutions, a company experimenting with new ways to answer phone calls. Its new Android app, CallSnap, doesn't decline a call if you can't answer but instead takes a photo of what you're doing so you can show the caller why you're busy.
And while he's not an official FitBit investor, he's a big fan and certainly promotes the wearable gadget, posting about it on his social media accounts and representing the company at a SXSW panel.
— Fitbit (@fitbit) January 8, 2014
He Had Steve Jobs on Speed Dial
Maybe not speed dial, but he did have his personal phone number, and that's pretty much the same thing, right? Shaq says when the iPhone and the iPod first came out, he called Steve and begged, "I gotta get it." Mr. Jobs wouldn't sell it to him in advance, but maybe he didn't know Shaq was planning to buy 50.
He's a Video Game OG
Not only did he star in plenty of basketball video games in the '90s, but he creates his own, too. In 1994, he came out with the street fighting game Shaq Fu, which people either totally loved or hated. And now, he's releasing a newer version called Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, which he crowd-funded on Indiegogo, raising $473,884. If you donated $500, Shaq promised to follow you on Instagram. Umm, OK. And for $1,000, he would follow you on Twitter for a year (and then unfollow you?) plus send one tweet about you. Worth it?
He's Pretty Much Superman
Or so he says. "When I was a kid and I saw the movie and I was watching Superman fly, I was like, 'I want to be like that guy,'" Shaq recently told Rolling Stone. The connection doesn't stop there, though. "And second of all, my first name starts with S. You know what I mean? If my name was Tom or Jonathan, I probably wouldn't have been into it as much. But my name starts with an S. It just makes sense." What are the chances?
Plus, he got pretty close when he starred in 1997's Steel, the superhero flick based on the DC Comics character from Superman.
He's a Social Media Master
His Twitter account was the first to be verified by the social media company. Bravo! But his savvy doesn't stop there. He says his social media posts are strategic: 60 percent are to make people laugh, 30 percent are inspirational (maybe a quote here and there), and 10 percent are to endorse products like FitBit.
Here is what the majority of his Instagrams are like:
Well played, Shaq. Well played.