At 7’1″ and 325 lbs., retired NBA center Shaquille O’Neal is hard to miss anywhere he goes. Now, you can have the imposing and entertaining basketball great with you in your house, backyard, or wherever else you like as the newest celebrity voice of Amazon Alexa. “It’s on! Shaq is in the house to make your speakers bounce,” the Big Diesel said in his announcement. “Boomshakalaka! I’m so excited to be a part of the Alexa experience.”
O’Neal and actress Melissa McCarthy are the latest additions to the brand’s roster of U.S. superstar voices after the feature debuted two years ago. “Customers have had a lot of fun with the Samuel L. Jackson experience on Alexa,” said Toni Reid, vice president of Alexa Experience & Echo Devices. “And when customers love something, we look for ways to give them more of it.”
For $4.99, you can get Shaq to tell you the weather, crack some jokes, or even engage in a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” on most second-generation voice-activated Echo devices. Alexa also launched its first male-voiced virtual assistant, Ziggy, in case you want to let “The Big Aristotle” catch his second wind for a bit.
“We’re thrilled to add two new celebrity personalities to Alexa and had a great time working with Shaquille O’Neal and Melissa McCarthy on this project,” said Reid. “We can’t wait to see what customers think.”
O’Neal may have the time to pop up at a summer picnic near you, anyway. He and fellow sports analyst Kenny Smith wrapped up their last taping of the season for NBA TV after Game 2 of this year’s Finals, and the big man shared his excitement with all the viewers. “I’m tired as hell,” Shaq said after taking off his dress slacks and dancing around for a minute. “I love you guys. You know how much I love you, Isiah [Thomas], Steve [Smith], Kenny [Smith], [and] Matt [Winer]. I wanna say I appreciate you guys, and I’ll see you in October.”