Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal reflects fondly on a time when he used to pester former Apple CEO Steve Jobs to allow him an early look at the iPhone. As one of the most famous names in sporting history, Shaq was accustomed to companies falling over each other to have him endorse and use their products for promotional purposes, but despite calling Jobs every other day, the late, great Apple co-founder refused to budge. In a rather heartwarming tale of conversation between two legends in their own right, Jobs had to contend with an almost daily barrage of "Stevey baby, it’s Shaqy, can I get one of those iPhones?"
In the past, Shaq has confessed to "always want[ing]to be the one that’s on the edge of technological curve," and as such, was pretty excited to see the iPhone released back in 2007. Speaking last year, he also said:
I always wanted to be ahead of everybody else. The great Steve Jobs, rest in peace, when the iPhone was first coming out, I used to call him every other day. Can I please get one first? Can I please get one first? He never gave me one. He said, ‘Shaq, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.’ He was a great guy.
In a recent interview with Mashable, Shaq also gave a little insight into how he’s continuing to nurture his interest in technology. Having attained master’s degree in business administration, he was at SXSW checking out the next best thing in the world of startups. Utilizing on his recognized name in order to hopefully attract some of the more exciting new companies, he also launched "Pitch Shaq," which allowed startups to submit a 15-second pitch video on Tout in order to grab some attention.
Many celebrities have used their positions in order to dabble in the world of technology and consumer electronics, and having clearly shared quite a friendly relationship with Jobs, Shaq seems to share the great man’s passion for helping to evolve the digital spectrum. If he manages to emulate the kinds of successes Jobs had – or indeed his own achievements in NBA, he will certainly have done a good job.
You can check out the Mashable interview below: