Shaquille O’Neal has compared DJing to playing a “championship game”.

The retired basketball star has performed at Lost Lands, Tomorrowland, EDC LV, Electric Zoo, Forbidden Kingdom and Beyond Wonderland as his alter-ego DJ Diesel and admitted the thrill of playing to huge concert crowds is right up there with a high-stakes basketball game.

Speaking to Variety, Shaquille, 51, said: “I’ve been playing basketball since I was 13. If it’s a crowd of 100 people or a crowd of 100,000, it’s the same thing if you’re putting on a show. In high school, the gym would be packed with 300 people. In the NBA and the championships, you have parades, but then it’s all gone, and you need it back.

“I went to Tomorrowland and saw Tiesto with 100,000 people out there. I got that feeling back. I thought, ‘I’ve been DJing since ’88, let me try.’ I was in the celebrity DJ box and had to prove myself.”

He credits Perry Farrell of Lollapalooza for giving him a chance to perform in 2019, saying: “Mr. Perry gave me the opportunity. I didn’t have the slot that I wanted. But I guess when people found out I was DJing, they came out. We came out and saw 50,000 people. The place went crazy.”

After performing for more than 100,000 people at Lollapalooza, he said: “That felt like a championship game and a parade all in one.

“It gives me the feeling of a playoff game. People are ready to jam and have a good time. It’s our job as athletes and DJs to give them their money’s worth.”


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