A cardboard cut-out of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal will be ‘watching’ Northampton v Cheltenham in the League Two play-offs
Shaquille O’Neal is one of American sport’s biggest-ever stars. The basketball legend has had his own video game, released albums and even had a go at being a professional wrestler.
But on 18 June, he will be in the crowd for a League Two play-off game in Northampton – in cardboard form.
A cut-out of the former Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic centre – complete with a Cobblers scarf draped around his neck – will be in the Northampton Town stands for the club’s semi-final first leg against Cheltenham Town.
O’Neal’s love for Northampton goes back a few years and stems from his business association with Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas.
The four-time NBA champion and Olympic gold medal-winner is no stranger to Cobblers supporters – in 2016, he recorded a video of support for the club during their League Two run-in and did another congratulating them once they had won promotion.
With supporters unable to go to games in person because of social distancing rules relating to the coronavirus pandemic, Northampton are one of several football clubs giving supporters the chance to be at matches (well, a picture of them, at least) in the form of a cardboard cut-out.
Let’s hope they are not completely life-size, as the person whose likeness is placed behind the 7ft 1in (2.16m) American might struggle to spot themselves in the crowd.
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