Shaquille O’Neal Releasing a Gluten-Free Vodka to Compete With Diddy

Luv-Shaq

Photo via elitedaily.com

The distillation of vodka is a centuries-old Russian tradition dating back as far as the ninth century.

The distiller’s art has been passed down through generations, and has finally been truly mastered by a seven-foot-one-inch retired basketball player from Newark.

Shaq is making vodka now.

Or, more accurately, he is lending his name to a gluten-free, sugar-free line of vodka called Luv Shaq. Isn’t that just adorable? It’s almost as catchy as Shaq-Fu, the name of a 1994 video game made at the peak of his stardom, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the most hated games of all time. (YouTube is loaded with clips of people “liberating the world” of Shaq Fu cartridges in violently creative ways.)

ciroc diddy

Photo via atlnightspots.com

The bottle containing Shaq’s new booze, which should hit shelves in early 2013, bears the image of Shaq with a giant pair of wings (note: if you see a winged Shaq while drinking the spirit, you’ve had too much and you should go to bed).

Shaq’s new booze is reportedly intended to be a direct, and slightly cheaper, competitor to Ciroc, the fancypants vodka endorsed by Sean “Diddy” Coombs.

By lending his name to a vodka that is sugar-free and gluten-free, Shaq has demonstrated a deep concern for the health and wellness of consumers who choose to pummel their livers with vodka. Now that’s luv, Shaq.

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snapping Britains 77-year drought of homegrown mens championsConnors by contrast made no discernible improvement in Andy Roddicks game in two years coaching the former world No 1 Last month he was herself a former No 1 after their one match together ended in defeatCoaches of top tennis players get plenty of TV airtime during high-stakes matches telegraphing encouragement calm and confidence as needed with a glance or subtle gesture But their role is little understoodIt is a job with no job description Ask 10 coaches what they do and youll get 100 different answersSimilarly it demands no standard skill setIts not necessary to have been the worlds best player as Connors and Lendl were But it is necessary to sublimate ones own ego however outsize in the interest of nurturing the next champion-in-the-making perhaps one whose résuméwill eclipse the coachs ownThats what Hall of Famer Cliff Drysdale suspects is tripping up Connors whom he faced as a player in the late 1970s”Jimmy is a loner” says Drysdale now an ESPN analyst “Coaching by its definition theres somebody else at stake I dont think hes cut out to be a coach bottom line”Back when Connors dominated mens tennis players didnt travel with full-time coaches although Connorss mother Gloria filled that role as well Swedens Bjorn Borg who won his first major at age 18 was the first of consequence to do so accompanied by former Swedish champion Lennart Bergelin who also served as a father-figure masseur and publicistBut as prize money increased the practice became common And today a full-time coach isnt enough to shepherd a world-class contenders careerMurray the defending US Open champion and current world No 3 travels with an entourage that includes not only Lendl but also a fitness coach a hitting partner and a strength and conditioning coachBut for the bulk of tennis pros men and women of lesser means a single coach is all they can afford That means the coachs job demands a dizzying array of tasks such as reserving practice courts arranging practice partners getting rackets restrung scheduling and rescheduling flights and at the US Open procuring restaurant reservations and tickets to Broadway hits through the players concierge serviceCoaches also impart actual tennis expertiseSome focus on match strategy Others fine-tune the mechanics of particular strokes The best according to John McEnroe bolster the mental game Thats what Lendl is credited with above all in analyzing Murrays breakthrough”The most important thing is making you a bigger believer in yourself” McEnroe saysFormer Australian touring pro Darren Cahill holds the distinction of coaching the youngest man to reach No 1 compatriot Lleyton Hewitt as well as the oldest Andre AgassiAccording to Cahill Hewitt was destined for greatness compelled by a fierce work ethic and fighting spirit even at 13 when they started hitting together on Cahills backyard courtAgassis greatness was already established when Cahill signed on late in his career The challenge of nurturing a youngsters career and extending that of a veteran couldnt have been more different But the key to any successful coaching relationship never varies Cahill believesIts a willingness to start with a blank slate and build trust he says”For it to really work the coach has to be open-minded and look through that particular players eyes at what he wants to achieve” says Cahill an ESPN analystNot every former champion is suited to the job of courseChris Evert a mother of three has no interest in traveling 35 weeks a year as a full-time coach Her own children are her priority”Youre like a therapist a baby-sitter” Evert says of the modern-day coach “Its an emotional as well as a physical job Its a tougher job than it looks”And it makes Drysdale wonder at least from a personal standpoint why so many want to do it”The job of a coach is so wide-ranging” Drysdale says “Its not as simple as being in the stands and shaking your head or nodding your head”Clinton has long been a proponent of a more vigorous U. she argued in favor of doing more to arm and assist rebel forces.

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