Shaq's Off-Season: Mixtapes And Video Games, But No Rapping

Heat player is host of Celebrity Status 2, cover boy for 2K Sports' 'NBA 2K6.'

Last week Shaquille O'Neal served up a double scoop of hosting duties. Early in the week he got in the vocal booth with his good friend DJ Kay Slay to host the mixtape Celebrity Status 2, and on Friday he threw his own shindig for the release of the new video game "NBA 2K6."

Slay spun records like Tony Yayo's "So Seductive" while Shaq played "2K6" as the Miami Heat on one of several Xbox systems placed throughout the night's venue, New York hot spot Slate.

"I got affiliated because they gave me a call to be on the cover," said O'Neal, explaining his involvement with the game. "I gladly accepted for all the kids from the projects — Newark, the Bronx. I've got three kids of my own, so it's gonna be a big surprise to them. But it's a great game. We got a lot of technology involved. It's different from any other game coming out."

What makes the game stand out the most is its larger-than-life cover boy. Playing with the animated Shaq is exactly like watching the real thing.

"I was very involved," said O'Neal of the game-making process. "I had to put on a motion-sensor suit and do all my moves — like the crazy walk after I score, all the celebratory stuff. In the game, my [skill] ratings are very high. I got all the moves — I can even step out to shoot the three."

The Miami Heat officially start their season November 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Shaq says he loves the hip-hop music he's been hearing lately, but even though he still has some time off, his only contribution to rap will be in monetary form. He's helping to fund a label started by his manager, Money Mark, and Kay Slay, but he won't be putting out any albums of his own.

"Nah," he insisted. "I just been chilling. Every now and then I may spit a verse, but I did five albums. I was blessed to spit with my favorite artists: Nas, the Jiggaman, the great Notorious B.I.G. I had fun in the game. I was the first to do it and do it right. Being a basketball player [who raps], I was the only one to do it correctly. Others have tried, but they can't do it like the Diesel."

Celebrity Status 2 is on the streets now. "NBA 2K6" will be in stores September 27 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. The game is also in development for the Xbox 360.