His restaurant chain will develop outreach programs and release artworks beyond Earth's atmosphere.
Former professional basketball player, Shaquille O'Neal, is working to help children dream beyond earth into space. The retired four-time NBA champion intends to team up with Blue Origin's suborbital launching business to promote its network of restaurants. He is expanding his business to space, something that most of us can just dream of, per Space.com.
The children-focused organization Club for the Future and the O'Neal-owned Big Chicken will collaborate to introduce "new community outreach programs" at the restaurants in these chains. According to an announcement from the business on Thursday, Big Chicken will also take part in the initiative "Postcards to Space," which releases artwork beyond Earth's atmosphere. Blue Origin launches people and cargo on quick suborbital trips that last a few minutes, but the company hasn't launched a plane since September 12, 2022, when its New Shepard system had an unmanned anomaly. Concerning how the inquiry is proceeding, the business has made no statements.
According to its website, Big Chicken has restaurants in ten states as well as on Carnival cruise ships. It also transports meals across the country. Across the upcoming years, the business intends to open 200 more stores in the United States. In the Big Chicken announcement, Michael Edmonds, a senior vice president of Blue Origin and the head of Club for the Future, said, "Living and working in space for the benefit of Earth should be delicious. Shaq's Big Chicken and Club for the Future will fuel students' appetites and minds as they pursue careers in STEM — all while delivering some of Earth's tastiest foods to space."
Shaq is seven feet tall (2.1 meters), which makes it unlikely that he would join any New Shepard crews where the maximum height allowed is only six feet, four inches (1.93 m). Nevertheless, during a trip in December 2021, New Shepard managed to squeeze in "Good Morning America" co-anchor Michael Strahan, who stands at 6 feet, 5 inches (1.95 m).
We dreamed so BIG; it’s out of this world! We teamed up with @BlueOrigin and @ClubForFuture for the Future to ignite curiosity among the next generation and advance the dream of building restaurants in space. Let's GO BIG & work towards a future in space for the benefit of Earth. pic.twitter.com/gxRWaGdlmY— Big Chicken (@BigChickenShaq) February 9, 2023
O'Neal had a challenging upbringing and attributes the Boys & Girls Club in his birthplace of Newark with providing him with "something to do" to keep him off the streets, whether it be playing basketball or finishing his homework. The basketball star said in the press release, "I'm proud to team up with Blue Origin to help inspire the next generation. This first-of-its-kind partnership is a game changer and I'm excited to take the chicken sandwich game to a whole new level." O'Neal, who postponed his studies to focus on basketball, earned his bachelor of arts from Louisiana State University in 2000. He is well-known for his divisive remarks in 2017 when he claimed the Earth was flat. He elaborated his position as "just a theory" in a 2022 appearance on Australia's "The Kyle & Jackie O Show," reports People.
He has also advocated for cryptocurrencies, which have drawn criticism from many for their extreme price volatility and the fact that they often only benefit a small number of individuals who have a lot of money to invest. However, Shaq's charity contributions—for which he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to causes and volunteer organizations—are what he is best known for outside of basketball. The former athlete and media celebrity is even said to go above and beyond to assist strangers in need.