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8 Months After “Respectful” Culture Found a Place in 7ft Giant’s Heart, Tom Cruise Latest Abu Dhabi Collab Leaves Shaquille O’Neal in Awe

Published 06/28/2023, 4:10 PM EDT

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Being one of the biggest sporting personalities in the world, Shaquille O’Neal has done his fair share of travel. When he’s not on the court, he’s making trips to beautiful places around the globe. Just last year, his destination was Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, a predominantly Islamic country.

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Shaq is still smitten by the beauty and culture the Middle East offers.

And why wouldn’t he? The city is growing in terms of popularity over the years. From Sex and the City to Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible, all big celebs flock to UAE.


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And, just this Monday, red carpets laid open to welcome Tom Cruise and the entire cast of the Mission Impossible series in Abi Dhabi. The team is promoting their new edition of the film series. And seeing how much Shaq loves both Abi Dhabi and Tom Cruise, he couldn’t stop himself from doing this.

Tom Cruise premiers his movie in Abu Dhabi

Tom Cruise was in Abi Dhabi on Monday for the premiere of his new movie, Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1. This will mark the 7th edition of the already successful series. Fans are still awe-struck by their appearance in the Land of the Gazelle. 

And of course, being a huge fan of Cruise himself, Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hide his excitement.


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Shaq is quite active on his social media accounts. And after knowing Tom Cruise is one of his favorite destinations in the world, he couldn’t control his excitement.

He reposts a clip on his Instagram stories, where we can see the cast of the MI series posing for pictures outside the theater where the film premiered.

O’Neal seems to favor Cruise for conducting more such lavish movie premiers in the Middle East.

The four-time champion was in Abu Dhabi last year. He fell in love with their culture and the kind of respect they have for their women.

Shaquille O’Neal Abu Dhabi adventures


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Being a resident of the USA throughout his life, Shaq’s visit to Abu Dhabi left him jaw-dropped by the way the metropolis treats its women.

The difference in culture shocked him. He said, “Women are all covered up. Ain’t no twerking, ain’t none of this, ain’t none of that.” The“respectful” culture of the place pleased the NBA legend.

Surely, Abu Dhabi has found itself a fan for life in the seven feet basketball legend.


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WATCH THIS STORY: Shaquille O’Neal who made one three pointer in all of his career shocks everyone with insane Stephen Curry statistic. 

What do you think about Shaq’s love for Tom Cruise and the Middle East? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by:

Aaditya Negi


One take at a time

Aaditya is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports and has been following the game for a number of years. He is an avid fan of the NBA and follows what’s happening in the league on a daily basis. Having worked as an intern in the sports domain, his passion for writing arose from his fondness for the intricacies of the game.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja