• Morten Smidt & SodaSHAQ

    07.17.13

    Think you've seen it all? Think again.

    The AriZona Beverage company has recently teamed up with retired NBA all-star, Shaquille O'Neal, to release "SodaSHAQ." Out now, the quirky new product - a line of cream sodas donning Shaq's face and a number of comical expressions - is quickly becoming a highly sought-after product.

    ...And whose portraits of the retired NBA baller are featured as the central focus of the product's promotion?

    None other than JMI's own Morten Smidt.

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    Aside from photographing the headshots seen here on the AriZona cans, Mort has also been working alongside the beverage company on a number of different post-production projects, including last week's Manhattan meet-and-greet with Shaq himself!

    Last Thursday, Shaq traveled around the Big Apple in a truck embellished with SodaSHAQ decor, handing out free samples of the beverage on city streets before making a surprise guest appearance at Basketball City, an all-new, state-of-the-art basketball camp in Manhattan. While there, O'Neal spoke to campers about the importance of pursuing one's dreams, and presented the camp with a $5,000 check, on behalf of AriZona Beverages and himself, so that ten underpriviledged children could attend the prestigious sports camp in his honor.

    Mort photographed O'Neal's Basketball City appearance, and after the commotion had died down, was able to chat with him as the retired NBA frontman shot free-throws with Mort's son and daughter. "Shaq was a really sweet guy," the JMI photographer said. "The kids just wanted to flock around him."

    Regarding the brand's heightened publicity and success, Mort credits Shaq's involvement, coupled with AriZona's strategic marketing. "They're really making it fun for that generation," he said.

    But is this the last you'll see of SodaSHAQ publicity and Mort's Shaq portraits?

    Not quite.

    On the heels of the Basketball City initiative, the AriZona Beverage company has chosen to utilize Mort's remarkable portraiture yet again - printing a Shaq collage that Mort, himself, created and handing it out in poster form with Shaq's signature.

    Check out Mort's photographs of Shaq's visit to Basketball City, below, and for more of Mort's work, including his incredible sports portraiture, be sure to visit the JMI site!!

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