NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Shaquille O’Neal has a new kind of movie project: theater owner.
O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion, grew up in Newark, and now co-owns and operates the CityPlex12 theater near downtown.READ MORE: 'Today, I Can Rejoice': New Yorkers Hit The Streets After Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty In George Floyd's Death
O’Neal and Newark Mayor Cory Booker formally opened the renovated, expanded theater Friday afternoon. It includes an auditorium with a 47-foot-wide screen. It partially reopened in May after being closed for renovations.
“The Newark Police Department helped raise me, the neighborhoods helped raise me, the big mommas of the church helped raise me and the teachers helped raise me,” O’Neal said at a press conference on Friday. “Someone made a comment saying, ‘He left, he became successful.’ No disrespect to your comment, but I’ve never left. I’ve always been here in Newark.”
The project added six screens and 20,000 feet to the theater on Springfield Ave.READ MORE: Activists Celebrate Conviction Of Derek Chauvin In George Floyd's Death, But Say Fight Is Not Over: 'Tomorrow, We Still Have To Dismantle Systemic Oppression'
“My vision was to build a world-class facility here,” O’Neal said. “This is the type of movie theater that I would go to, so I said to myself, ‘We want to build something that people would be proud of going to.'”
O’Neal, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2000, joked that the theater shouldn’t screen his movie “Kazaam” if it wants to stay in business.
Funding for the $7 million project came from Goldman Sachs Urban Investment group and other development companies. The theater will hold a promotion called “30 Days of Shaqness” that offers discounts and promotions.
Shaq returns to Newark in grand fashion! Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…MORE NEWS: Police: Gabriel Dewitt Wilson In Custody After Deadly Shooting At West Hempstead Stop & Shop
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