Shaq looks to become the Pat Riley of comedy

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NEW YORK — With his latest endeavor, Shaquille O’Neal now considers himself the “Pat Riley of comedy.”

The four-time NBA champion likens himself to the famed basketball coach with his ability to pick the right comedians for his “All Star Comedy Jam.”

“Humor is a big way to relieve stress, so me being a great leader and being an expert at organizational leadership, I could pick a team, I could pick a street ball team, I could pick a kickball team, I definitely could pick comedians,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said he wanted provide a forum for comics similar to Russell Simmons’ “Def Comedy Jam.” He was a big fan of the HBO series that launched the careers of Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker and others.

But O’Neal said his revue isn’t just about black comedy.

“I am not biased. Even though I’m African-American, even though I’m urban, I don’t just like urban comedy,” O’Neal said. “The guy Jeff Foxworthy — that’s some of the best comedy ever — ‘You know you’re a redneck.’ I can relate to that because I went to school in Louisiana and Texas.”

The “All Star Comedy Jam” has a lineup that has featured Finesse Mitchell and Gary Owen. The tour ends on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.

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