Shaq (2022) - review and opinion on the documentary series [HBO].  The story of an athlete, but also of a man

Four episodes chronologically arrange Shaquille O’Neal’s entire journey across the NBA, from his first workout with his stepfather, through victories over the Lakers and Miami Heat, to the end of his career, personal troubles and reclaiming his love for the sport.

Few people in the NBA have as interesting a history as Shaq. In addition to his sports career, he has tried his hand at quite a few other industries. He’s been a rapper for a while, he still seems to be a DJ, he’s starred in a few movies — he was one of the first black superheroes on the big screen, though he and most viewers would rather forget that fact — and he’s even He had his own reality play on Super Nintendo and many other systems. It didn’t become a classic, but that didn’t stop Shaq from releasing a sequel in 2018. It’s also one of the great, or at least good, titles! But you have to admit to the guy that he was able to mold his name into a brand and still make money from it today. Nowadays, basketball players owning their own clothing brands, music CDs, breakfast cereals, or appearing in movies isn’t unusual, but Shaq (and Jordan) made it happen.

Shaq (2022) – Documentary series review [HBO]. Who is this series for?

Robert Alexander’s documentary is nothing too special. Shaq and his family and friends take turns sitting in an elegant chair and tell the story of the great basketball player – literally and figuratively – from their point of view. In order not to be too boring, it is interspersed with video material that matches the narration, old images – some of which may have been made available to fans for the first time – and even simple and funny animations. My favorite was the one that depicted Shaq’s story in game form relatively similar to Shaq Fu. Such a combination makes the four episodes, which run between 45 and 60 minutes, very good to watch, although, let’s face it, this is definitely a show only for basketball fans.

This fact can be a delicate issue. If someone is already involved in the NBA (Konrad, Mishaw and Jacek – Cheers), they probably know this story and I mean O’Neal’s private life and all the most important matches of his career. Watching its fragments with additional narration can be a fun experience, but it can also be an experience similar to reading the same book for the fourth time – nice and pleasantly familiar, but in these times of chronic time constraints and vast amounts of media and content for immediate consumption, it can be a waste of time. Little. So, really, I would say this is a production aimed primarily at Sunday fans – people who are knowledgeable about the subject, but don’t obsessively watch how many points per game each player scores and who’s the best dunk of the season. They’ll get the most out of Shaq yet.

Shaq (2022) – Documentary series review [HBO]. From man to legend and back to man

Shaquille O'Neal

As much as I enjoyed Shaq’s sense of humor and his final lesson that being nice to people doesn’t cost anything, so there’s no real reason to justify bragging or hurting others – a fact O’Neill learned the hard way, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about – so I didn’t like the style he spoke Him and his relatives for his game. One could infer that the man was almost a god of the dance floor, an unmistakable monument to perfection, and all who came into contact with him should be glad that they had been given the honor. Don’t get me wrong – I fully understand and respect the fact that Shaq is one of the greatest basketball players in history, but logic dictates that no one is perfect, so it would be nice to show him in a documentary series dedicated to him as a more realistic, three-dimensional, imperfect, yet moving character. constantly towards this perfection. Meanwhile, everyone speaks of him only in superlatives, and he sees problems with himself only in the private sphere, because as a player he was perfect in walking.

It’s good that the creators weren’t afraid to talk about those uncomfortable or even painful elements of his life, humanizing him in the process. We will hear about how close he was to his adoptive father and how much his death affected him. We’ll find out how he felt helpless when he had huge amounts of money in his account and still couldn’t help his sister who was suffering from cancer. Alexander devotes a lot of time to his relationship with Kobe Bryant, going through virtually all stages of his acquaintance and ending with a heartbreak of melancholy and a sense of senseless vanity that accompanies him after the sudden death of his ex-boyfriend. It was the last episode in particular that impressed me the most, because it shows Shaq in the most pure way possible as a human being — someone who has feelings, can get hurt, and also has issues.

It is no coincidence that the first episode is called “From Shakil to Shaqil,” and the last, “From Shaqil to Shakil.” Over the course of four hours, we watch a New Jersey kid become a legend, then shed light on the man behind it. Shaq is a well-crafted documentary, and while it doesn’t ultimately reinvent the wheel, basketball fans should definitely rave about it.

It will premiere on HBO Max on November 23.

note I’d like to say hello to the guys from PPE, who I had the pleasure of meeting with on Saturday for the PSX Extreme’s 25th birthday. Stachoo, Colin, BobbyS, Grassu – Thanks for sharing and see you next time!

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