Virtual sports specialist Inspired has signed NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as the face of its new Rush Basketball game.

The exclusive brand partnership will see O’Neal appear in a range of products developed for the land-based sports, casino and lottery sectors, complemented by online, mobile and in-play variants which will launch via the supplier’s Virgo Remote Games Server platform. Ruch Basketball is scheduled for release next year.

O’Neal is one of only three players to win the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), All-Star Game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year, and is the third highest-ranked player for field goal percentage. He was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.

During a 19-year career in the NBA he played for teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, winning the title four times. 

He currently works as a post-game analyst on TNT's Inside the NBA alongside former Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley and Houston Rockets point guard Kenny Smith.

The deal sees Rush Basketball become the second Inspired product to be backed by a famous sportsman, with its Rush Boxing product featuring the likeness of former World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson.

“Inspired is delighted to announce this partnership with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal through our partnership with Pavilion Worldwide,” Inspired chief commercial officer for digital games Steve Rogers commented. “Our Rush Basketball product group promises to be the best on the market, using our latest technology and filming techniques to bring players their most authentic virtual sports experience yet.

“Following our first ever virtual sports deployment in casinos in North America and the forthcoming online deployments in New Jersey, Inspired is looking forward to expanding its offering to include premium games such as Rush Basketball in the near future. We know that the combination of Inspired’s world leading virtual products and Shaq will be a winning formula.”

To promote the partnership, O’Neal will be appearing at Inspired’s stand at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas later this month.