Basketball superstardom and eSports collided in a hotel room at TwitchCon this year, and there was a whole lot of love in the room. Now, pro basketball players like Shaq do tend to cut a somewhat more imposing physical figure than pro gamers, so let's forgive Super Smash Bros. pro, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, for looking a little uncomfortable as the court legend and famous genie seizes his throat in preparation to suck his soul right out of his eyes... I mean plant a bunch of kisses on his colleague's head.
After all, gamers are aware of Shaq's deadly reputation as a master of Shaqido...an extremely lethal martial arts form.
Shaquille O Neal has been riding high this year after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last month. The former NBA player was attending TwitchCon to participate in the "Bud Light All-Star Bash", an event where pro gamers team up with celebrities like Shaq, Snoop Dogg and Adrianne Curry in a series of challenges intended to somehow influence the American public's choice of beer.
In between shilling for Bud Light, Shaq took the time to visit a couple of his newest colleagues: RuneScape streamer, Ice_Poseidon, and pro gamer Nairo. Shaq actually has a business interest with these two: he's an investor in NRG eSports, an organization that fields teams in various competitive gaming events and has contracts with both Ice_Poseidon and Nairo. Could this be a demonstration of the 'Shaq attack' threatened in his tweets?
Shaq isn't the only former NBA player getting into the eSports industry but he might be the only basketball star who's attempted to celebrate his relationship with a new generation of gaming stars in such a physically intimate manner. Cold-blooded cynics, their hearts withered and feeble after years of broken promises and world-weary suffering, intimated that Shaq's enthusiastic display of affection was a calculated ploy to save a brief, boring interview by creating a viral clip. Of course, seasoned journalists such as ourselves at Now Loading would never fall for something like that, and we're proud to recognize the pure humanity of the moment.
Check out the Twitch clip below:
Shaq may have been too modest to show off his extensive knowledge of video games and eSports, and certainly was not so vainglorious as to humiliate his new colleagues by playing any actual video games with them. Those steeped in gaming lore know that Shaq has loved video games since at least the mid-90s, when his life story was immortalized in virtual history.
For all the haters and doubters out there, here's some further evidence that Shaq's love for gamers is so great, that he's giving us a second chance to learn the way of Shaqido from the comfort of our gaming dens. We've been waiting two friggin' years now, but we're still believers.