By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Any former teammate of Shaquille O’Neal would likely tell you that having him on the court was the sports equivalent of a great insurance policy.
The NBA Hall of Famer told ABC News’ Good Morning America that “trust and credibility were very important” throughout his 19-year NBA career, and now he’s applying those values to a new campaign with a brand that’s been by his side since college.
“In 1989 when I bought a used Ford Bronco 2, I didn’t have insurance, went to all these places I couldn’t afford, then I went to The General and they gave me an affordable policy, and it was great. I never had to use it,” he said with a laugh. “But hey, I had the full coverage I needed.”
Shaq first teamed up with the brand nearly a decade ago.
“I’m watching Maury Povich, ’cause that was my routine every day, and I would hear the jingle with The General commercial, and I said, ‘Hey I’d love to let the world know about the quality insurance that your company offers’ — and we’ve been in a relationship every since,” he said.
But now, the company known for its computer-animated ads is evolving its image with the help of the 15-time NBA All-Star and a couple of his friends from Inside the NBA.
Shaq said “it was a lot of fun” filming on set with fellow NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.
“We had a lot of outtakes. But it’s also great to tell your friends ‘I told you so,'” Shaq said. “A lot of people look at the commercial and think they’re too cheesy, but nope, they’re quality insurance.”
Thinking about other famous basketball trios, the four-time NBA champion said if he could build his own Big Three with any other players of all time, it would be “Me, Michael Jordan and Jason ‘White Chocolate’ Williams.”
One real-life matchup on Shaq’s calendar is his All Elite Wrestling in-ring debut. He’s wrestling Cody Rhodes on March 3 in a mixed tag-team bout, “so I’m gonna have to beat him up,” he said.
When asked about his training, he said “I can’t tell ya, I’ll just have to show ya.”
Although the 2020-21 NBA “season is still young” Shaq said that “Utah, the Lakers and Brooklyn are all playing well.”
Shaq will be in on the All-Star Weekend action and back with Inside the NBA on TNT for the second part of the regular season, but he said “there are about four or five teams in contention to become champions.”
“I’m biased,” he said after seeing the Lakers take home the title last season, “but I want to see the best players shine and the best team win.”
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