When I saw Entertainment Weekly's headline that Shaquille O'Neal will guest-star on a Season 29 episode of The Simpsons, I thought, "that's nice that he'll be on there again." But when I clicked on it, it said nothing about "again." So I went over to the Simpsons wiki, and lo and behold, he's never used his gift of gab on the show. He's been mentioned a few times over the years and even appeared in a non-speaking cameo in an episode that featured fellow NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but Shaq's voice has never been heard in Springfield.
This is astonishing to me, considering Shaq's ubiquity on TV for a quarter century. Shaq has been one of the most famous people in sports since his rookie year in 1992. He never appeared on The Simpsons when he was a movie star, he never appeared when he was arguably the greatest player in the NBA during the Lakers' early-'00s three-peat, and he's never appeared just as a hilarious dude whose natural goofiness is a great fit for The Simpsons. Even Yao Ming appeared before him, and Shaq is way funnier than Yao.
As for the episode he'll be in, Shaq will appear as himself and will offer advice to Homer.
It's too bad that Shaq is appearing now, so long past his (and The Simpsons') prime, but better late than never, I guess.
The Simpsons' Season 28 finale airs Sunday, May 21 at 8/7c on Fox.