Even as the bonds of international relations threaten to tear or break in the wake of the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, the U.S. State Department is offering an olive branch to its long-time rivals in Cuba. A big, Shaq-shaped olive branch.
Sports Illustrated is reporting that legendary basketball player and rapping genie Shaquille O’Neal has been named as the State Department’s “Sports Envoy” to Cuba, which has slowly been re-opening its borders to the Western world over the last few years. (In terms of media, Showtime’s House Of Lies filmed its series finale there, and the latest Fast & The Furious movie is currently ramping its way over the country’s various buildings and people.) O’Neal—who retired from the NBA in 2011—will serve as a goodwill ambassardor, alongside Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales.
At least, that’s the official story. It’s always possible that this “basketball ambassador” thing is just a cover, and Shaq is actually being smuggled into the country for more sinister purposes. After all, this is a man with his own brand of martial arts, a man who’s a master of both disguise and counter-intelligence (as he displayed in a recent viral video where he surreptitiously outed a fan for filming him with his cell phone.)
What cloak-and-dagger shenanigans could this Manchurian Shaqdidate get up to? One thing’s certain: the Cuban government will never see him coming, unless they open their eyes and look around a little, because Shaquille O’Neal is very, very tall.