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Fans Use Twitter to Rendevous With Shaquille O'Neal at Phoenix Restaurant

Feb 21, 2009 – 1:30 AM
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Will Brinson

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Twitter is all the rage right now, and actually has been for some time. "Normal" folks have been tweeting frequently, but now athletes have been hitting up the social media forum at an awesomely alarming rate. One of the most famous twitterers is the Big Aristotle himself, Shaquille O'Neal.

Shaq got heavy into Twitter under the name The_Real_Shaq after someone impersonated him on the site for a while. He's quickly amassed a ridiculous 127,000+ followers. And recently, he ended up meeting with a few of them at the 5 & Diner in Phoenix after a Twitter exchange turned into a real-life encounter.

See, Jesse Bearden (owner of "A foot and a half" blog) and his friend Sean followed "The Real Shaq" for a few days, questioning at times whether it was really the NBA superstar. They decided to put the debate to rest when Shaq tweeted that he was hitting up the 5 & Diner by rolling up to the restaurant themselves.

Sure enough, the Big Shaqtus was there. Nervousness ensued.
We placed our order, and spent 10 minutes trying to work up the sack to go say something. [...]Given another 2-3 years, I'm sure we would have worked up the nerve to go talk to him, but before that could happen Sean's iPhone buzzed with a "tweet" from Shaq.

I feel twitterers around me, r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me, say somethin
Jesse and Sean returned to "hushed whispers" wondering if they should "go talk to him now." Then, with all the grace of a boom mic, Shaq dropped: "Yes, you should." What followed was a classic starstruck form of celebrity encounter, as the two fans took pictures (you can see full size at Jesse's blog), and Shaq flashed his Google phone, tipped $200 on a $20 meal and a Sprite.

All in all, it's just an insanely awesome story, and completely indicative of how the internetz have taken over our lives. As for the celebrity tweeting, it's a brilliant move (see: Sports Media Challenge). Love or hate Twitter, if you actually bother to use it correctly, it's flat-out fun.

Yes, I'm a nerd. Whatevs. I'm willing to admit it. And you don't have to keep hiding it. Some Twitter profiles for you to get started with:

Athlete Twitter Profiles:

FanHouse Twitter Profiles:
@NCAA FanHouse
Filed under: Sports