by Dewayne Bevil Contact Reporter Orlando Sentinel
There’s all sorts of synergy going on in this picture. It’s faux Shaq meeting real-life sharks at Sea Life Aquarium. The International Drive attraction borrowed the former NBA star’s wax figure from Madame Tussauds, its corporate sister that also operates in the shadow of the Icon Orlando observation wheel.
The photo stunt is tied to Shaquille O’Neal — the living, breathing-air one — who is participating as the host of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programming. Sea Life has an array of shark-driven activities, including a chance to get a “sharkfie” made, that will be held at the attraction through July 29. Sea Life includes floor-to-ceiling displays for its thousands of swimming animals.
Sea Life and Madame Tussauds are operated by Merlin Entertainments Group.
Most days, the O’Neal figure stands in the sports room of Tussauds, tippy-toed and reaching toward a basketball goal. He’s decked out in an old-school Orlando Magic pinstriped uniform and surrounded by stars from the world of athletics, such as Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others.