Oct 27, 2014
Reebok ad for 'Shaq Attaq' sneaker shot at Malcom X Shabazz in Newark
Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger By Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger
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on November 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM, updated November 26, 2013 at 8:55 AM
NEWARK — If Shaquille O’Neal's love for New Jersey wasn't obvious enough from his community and political partnerships, Reebok has made it clear in a new commercial.
The advertisement, for Reebok's Shaq Attaq “Brick City” sneaker, pays homage to O'Neal's Newark upbringing according to a report from DrJays.com.
In the commercial, O'Neal walks onto a basketball court at Newark's Malcolm X Shabazz High School as a crowd of students get excited about his arrival.
"Playing here wasn't a privilege. It was a dream," O'Neal says as he gives the students high fives and slaps them on their backs.
The kids featured in the commercial are students from from Malcolm X Shabazz High School and Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark, according to Malcolm X Shabazz principal Gemar Mills.
Many of them want to become professional athletes or fight childhood obesity, Mills said. He added that they were working with The Future Project, a New York-based organization that encourages kids to pursue their dreams.
“It was a great thing for them to meet Shaquille," he said. "To tell them that...they can actually do it.”
The commercial was shot earlier this month, and Reebok flew in California-based artist Madsteez to paint a mural of O'Neal on the school's exterior, Mills said.
O'Neal, who did not attend Shabazz, ends his monologue by saying he developed fortitude and determination while living in Newark.
"These streets didn't break me, they made me," he says in the commercial. "It wasn't easy on the body or the mind, but somebody always makes it out. That person that made it out was me: Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal and I'm from Brick City."
The commercial ends with the students shooting hoops on the court to music, while O'Neal and Redman, a rapper from Newark, watch.
The red and grey sneaker retails for $160, according to the report.