Shaquille O'Neal First-Ever U.S. Department of State Basketball Sports Envoy to Cuba

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 24, 2016

Building on the momentum of President Obama’s historic March trip to Cuba, hall of famer Shaquille O’Neal, a 15 time National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star, will serve as a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy to Cuba from June 25–28. This people-to-people program taps into the unique strength of sports—including basketball—to reach out to young people and promote cooperation and engagement in Cuba.

While in Cuba, O’Neal will be joined by Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales to lead basketball clinics for youth and demonstrate how sports can serve as a means of developing academic, leadership, and teamwork skills. O’Neal will draw on his personal basketball and business background to highlight the importance of social inclusion and respect for diversity. During his time in the country, O’Neal will visit historically significant cultural sites in Havana to encourage positive ties between the U.S. and Cuban people.

As a legendary name in sports, O'Neal played for 19 seasons in the NBA. For further information, please contact ECA Press at