'Shaq Life' Episode 1 Review: Pilot chapter cements the bedrocks of Shaq's success – respect and commitment

Samuel L Jackson's narration, Shaq's charisma and some major humor elements makes 'You Don't Know Shaq' a thoroughly enjoyable watch

                            'Shaq Life' Episode 1 Review: Pilot chapter cements the bedrocks of Shaq's success – respect and commitment
Shaquille O'Neal (Getty Images)

Spoilers for 'Shaq Life' Episode 1 'You Don't Know Shaq'

It's easy to get hooked on to anything that Samuel L Jackson is part of. And when he's out there narrating what NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal's life is like, the respect for the towering giant of a man just skyrockets. For those who actually don't know Shaq, he is just a man with a large heart who wants to live life to the fullest. His only complaint: It's got just 24 hours. 

The pilot episode of 'Shaq Life' gives a look at the multiple projects Shaq has been part of after retiring from basketball. He's on the board of Papa John's Pizza, he wants to make it big in the world of music as DJ Diesel and he also wants to be the best version of himself each day of his life. The list of to-do things he has isn't easy. And for those who do know Shaq, easy isn't his thing. 

The 20-minute episode sees Shaq as a man of generosity. An example being the benefactor for a kid who's getting ready for his eighth-grade prom and has feet size 19. Trust Shaq to help out and he does so buying the kid as many pairs and offers to take care of his suit as well. One of the things that keep Shaq going is probably his ability to look at the silver lining and the funny side of almost every impossible situation. And despite the fact that he is mostly a chilled-out persona, he takes things seriously and is one of the hardest workers there is. 

Part of his trait of being a generous soul stems from the fact that Shaq himself grew up with regular life and a tough one at that. And now, he doesn't want the needy in the world to through the same thing he did. Moving on to his post NBA career, the first minutes captures his stint at TNT as an analyst. He's funny and loved by the crew, setting the tone that Episode 1 will be a light and a fun affair while also giving a peek inside how Shaq does business. 

Take for instance his role as a board member at Papa John's, a well-loved Pizza that hit a major snag. Its reputation took a beating when founder, John Schnatter, used the N-word on a conference call in May. And Shaq, known for representing brands that he only believes in was reluctant to take the step with Papa John's. When it did become public that Shaq was on board, there was this dilemma that a man adored by the pubic would be at the receiving end of a backlash.


It was a three-pronged attack. He'd want franchises, one in Atlanta, the second was to be on the board, and if the two were okay, then he'd do a few commercials and spots for them. So shrewd businessman? Hell, yeah! And his way of bringing back people to love Papa John's again was to win them back respectfully. "I'm not a corporate guy, I'm a regular guy with corporate skills," he says. 

His DJ Diesel career has a bit of a  backstory to it. He says he was in awe when he attended The TomorrowWorld EDM concert in Atlanta. Then began his career as a DJ. It's not surprising when Jackson says Shaq, who could be "coasting" after a brilliant career with a multi, multi-millionaire life, is instead gearing up and training hard for his next stint. Now that's commitment. A DJ is a failure when people don't groove to his tunes and that's Shaq's biggest challenge. 

Shaq's mantra is simple: "While you sleep, I'm practicing. When you wake up, I'm still practicing. While you're in the bathroom doing number one or number two, I'm still practicing." The best part about the man is he knows he's not doing this for fun and is quick to not just accept any idea thrown at him. Cutting straight to the chase: This man is not doing this for keeps. 

Respect, generosity, commitment and fun are the bedrocks of Shaq's success. And that's what you need to know about Shaq. Jackson's narration, Shaq's charisma, and some major humor elements make this docuseries a thoroughly enjoyable watch.