Shaquille O’Neal Becomes Guest Orchestra Conductor, Leads the Boston Pops on Monday Night
Shaquille O’Neal became the first basketball player to lead the Boston Pops, the city’s legendary orchestra, when he took the Symphony Hall stage to lead the orchestra in three numbers on Monday night.
The 7-foot-1 Celtics center acted as a guest conductor, the tallest in its 125-year history, complete with a tuxedo with tails, ESPN reports.
“[Celtics PR director Heather Walker] asked me if I wanted to conduct the orchestra,” he explained. “I was like, ‘Seriously, like a real orchestra?’”
Before his performance, O’Neal said “I have a whole new respect for conductors,” adding, “I went through a rehearsal today, and my arms are shot right now.”
The last song he conducted, “We Are the Champions” was played after a special message from Shaq: “This is a song I hope you all will be singing on June 27 when the NBA season is over.”