It's been about a decade since Shaq donned the Heat jersey, but he misses Miami so much he's coming back in the biggest way possible.
Shaq's Fun House is an invite-only, all-night dance-music throwdown that will be held during Miami Music Week at a secret warehouse in the heart of Wynwood. It's a Saturday-morning thang with a Friday-night feel, because this party starts at 2 a.m., just a couple of hours after Ultra Music Festival's first night closes. And it won't turn down until after sunrise. Of course, everything about Shaq's life is big, and the fact that he can't actually tell you the lineup is a good thing. Trust us.
"We're going to do the thing," Shaq says. "You come to my party, I promise you're not gonna sleep, and when I say, 'Top 10 DJs,' I mean in the world. Not in Miami. Not in Europe — in the world."
Shaq's Fun House will boast two stages, one for the top-tier DJs and another for the Fantasy Cabaret Show, starring everything from stilt-walkers to flamethrowers to costumed performers and more. Shaq promises "festival-style" production, plus there will be free food, carnival attractions, and fair games.
What is Shaquille O'Neal doing throwing an all-night rave in the heart of Wynwood this Miami Music Week? Let former TomorrowWorld director, Joe Silberzweig, tell you a story.
"The first time Shaquille came to TomorrowWorld in 2015, he came without credentials," Silberzweig says. "He drove his F-150 right through security and parked behind the main stage. I found him wandering in the pyrotechnics zone. I said to security, 'Why did you let him through?' and she goes, 'What do you mean? It was Shaquille O'Neal.'"
Silberzweig ended up showing Shaq around the Atlanta festival's larger-than-life stage productions and on-campus activities. Shaq was impressed, and he begged for a chance to show off his DJ skills. Again, Silberzweig was skeptical.
"He told me about how music was really one of his first passions," Silberzweig says, "how he used to sneak into concerts and save up his Christmas money to buy NWA records to DJ as an escape from basketball. That's when I really understood that music was not just a side project for him but a real passion."
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After Shaq sent Silberzweig a series of mixes, the TomorrowWorld man booked Shaq to play the festival, and when the big guy actually brought the ruckus, Silberzweig booked him to play Tomorrowland, the Miami event's gigantic parent festival in Belgium. Shaq has continued to play club gigs in the years since, but now he's ready to make his own lane.
"These events he's been doing at the club weren't really representative of who he is as a performer: over-the-top, larger-than-life, and Mr. Fun," Silberzweig says. "I think moving forward, Shaquille really wants to only be involved in special events that are more representative of who he is as a performer and, more importantly, just as a person."
Though Shaq's Fun House is invite-only, you can win tickets at shaqsfunhouse.com.
Shaq's Fun House. 2 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at a location in Wynwood TBA; shaqsfunhouse.com. Invitation only.