State Dept. Sending Shaq to Cuba as Sports Envoy | NBC Bay Area
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State Dept. Sending Shaq to Cuba as Sports Envoy

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    Getty Images, File
    In this February 6, 2016 file photo, Shaquille O'Neal arrives to the 13th annual "Leather & Laces" Super Bowl party in San Francisco.

    Months after President Obama's historic trip to Cuba, 15-time NBA all-star Shaquille O'Neal will visit the island nation.

    The State Department announced Friday that O'Neal will be part of a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy to promote sports to the Cuban youth for four days starting this weekend.

    The retired NBA star will be joined by Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales to lead basketball camps for youth and demonstrate how sports can serve as a means of developing academic, leadership, and teamwork skills, according to a State Department news release. He is expected to visit historically significant cultural sites in Havana and further promote positive ties between the United States and Cuban people.

    O'Neal played in the NBA for 19 seasons and retired following the 2011 season. He played for the Miami Heat from 2004 to 2008, winning his fourth championship, after many years with the LA Lakers and Orlando Magic.

    Lynne Sladky/AP