Shaq Infomercial on ESPN

Apparently not content with his constant presence on Twitter (and lack of presence in the NBA playoffs), Shaq has stepped into the world of infomercials….sort of.

Article from ESPN:
Shaquille O’Neal incorporates some mixed martial arts into his off-season training, and ESPN decided that would be an interesting story. No complaints there. But the way ESPN went about reporting the story — with Dana Jacobson interviewing Shaq’s trainer — turned it into a ridiculous infomercial for the gym where Shaq trains, with Shaq’s trainer playing the role of corporate pitchman and Jacobson playing the role of MMA ignoramus.

The trainer, Jonathan Burke of Gracie Orlando, was incapable of answering a question without throwing in a hamhanded reference to his gym’s web site. By about the fifth time he reminded us that his gym’s web site is, I was ready to punch my TV.

And then there’s Jacobson’s interview. I like Jacobson. I’ve written favorably about her interview with former NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones, and I’ve defended her when she was criticized for comments she made at a celebrity roast. But she was completely unprepared and unprofessional in this interview. She mispronounced Chuck Liddell’s name five times, referred to a rear-naked choke as a “bare-naked grab whatever,” and generally came across like she was proud of her ignorance of MMA.

Increasing numbers of athletes are incorporating MMA into their training, and I hope ESPN does more stories on that fact. I just hope the next time, it doesn’t turn into a infomercial.


  • Jim Warren

    Jim Warren began his professional career in the television and production industry working in Southern California where he discovered that he had a natural sales talent. Combining this talent with his love of film and video production, he built (and eventually sold) the largest infomercial production company of its day. Jim learned how the direct-response industry is an effective training ground for an analytical thinker who loves measured marketing and business metrics. With today’s focus on accountable marketing and online media, those lessons provided him with the advanced insight and skills needed for today’s online metric-driven business model. Connect with Jim Warren on LinkedIn Warren Jim