NJ Native Shaquille O'Neal Meets Horde Of Cheerleaders During Hershey Visit

New Jersey native and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal was spotted in Hershey’s Chocolate World by a large group of cheerleaders.

St. Marys Area School District Cheer Team with Shaquille O'Neal at Hershey's Chocolate World. 

St. Marys Area School District Cheer Team with Shaquille O'Neal at Hershey's Chocolate World. 

Photo Credit: SMA Booster Club Officers- Charlotte Weidow & Tiffany Fry

Newark-born, Shaq, as he's popularly known, had just arrived at Hershey's around 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 when cheerleading teams in town for the PIAA Competitive Spirit State Championship spotted the Basketball Hall-of-Famer. 

The approximately 7-foot-tall athlete would stand out in a crowd. 

Several of the teams shared photos they took with the founder of Big Chicken on Facebook. 

Daily Voice reached out to some of the teams.

Central Valley Warrior Cheer Head Coach Heather Semovoski told us, "Shaq eloquently photobombed the pic with the girls! It was a very surreal experience."

St. Marys Area School District Head Cheer Coach Jennifer Bish told us the following about the encounter:

"When we walked out and were talking to another team, his driver struck up a conversation after noticing our warm ups that say 'Dutchmen Cheerleading.' We come to find out that [the driver] actually lives in Annville PA where the school mascot is also the Dutchmen. Our mascot is unlike any other so it was pretty cool when we met this squad at Pine Forest cheer camp this past summer. Needless to say, he confirmed that it was indeed Shaq (my family didn't believe me) and he had to be out by 5:30 pm. He suggested we build a pyramid for a photo op and that's how it all happened. This will forever be a memory for our squad. I mean how many teams can say they were in Hershey for State Cheer Championships and met Shaq?!"

The Dutchman is the mascot of the Annville-Cleona School District in Lebanon County just over the Dauphin County line — and it's where Shaq's driver was from Coach Bish explained in a follow-up email to Daily Voice. 

Big Chicken is supposedly making plans to expand in Pennsylvania possibly in Lehigh, Scranton, and State College, but official details have not been released. 

Daily Voice has reached out to the other teams who posted that they met Shaq and the Hershey's Chocolate World to inquire about the nature of his visit, but have not heard back at the time of writing. Check back here for possible updates. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated as Coach Bish's original statement to Daily Voice made it sound like Shaq was living in Pennsylvania, she has since sent a follow-up email clarifying her initial statement to explain she meant his driver lives in PA. 

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