Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

O’Neal lines up a bank shot

He has dubbed himself Superman, the Diesel, the Big Aristotle and Shaq-Fu among other nicknames.

If Shaquille O’Neal’s latest proposed venture works out, he might also become known as the Big Fannie Mae.

O’Neal told the Orlando Sentinel that he wanted to help people facing foreclosure on their homes.


“I want to come in not to kick them out, but to work with them and save them so they can stay in their homes,” O’Neal said during a visit to Orlando City Hall.

Attorney Mark NeJame told the Sentinel that O’Neal wants to buy the mortgages of homeowners who have slipped into foreclosure because of high interest rates. The Phoenix Suns center would sell the homes back with more affordable terms, hoping to make a small profit.

“He’s become a businessman with a conscience,” NeJame said.

O’Neal remains conscious of opportunity: According to the Sentinel, he would like to develop a TV reality show based on his Orlando project and call it “Shaq’s Big Save,” a sequel to a 2007 weight-loss show, “Shaq’s Big Challenge.”

Trivia time

Who holds the record for most minutes played in an NBA Finals game?

Rings familiar

Thieves robbed a Massachusetts jewelry manufacturer last weekend and made off with $2 million in loot, including New York Giants Super Bowl rings.

Police said robbers apparently cut a hole in the roof and removed a safe that weighed at least 1,000 pounds.

The $25,000 rings, identical to those the Giants players and coaches received last month, were slated to be presented to team staff to commemorate the 17-14 victory over the New England Patriots.

Just when you really need surveillance video.

Great memories

Actor and comedian Mike Meyers, who grew up in Canada, features the Toronto Maple Leafs in his new movie, “The Love Guru,” and is hoping the team can turn things around under new Coach Ron Wilson.

Meyers told Ross McKeon of Yahoo Sports that he still laments the heartbreaking end to the 1993 season, when the Kings beat his beloved Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the conference finals with the help of three goals from Wayne Gretzky.

Meyers had met the Great One a few years before on the set of “Saturday Night Live.”

“He autographed a picture of himself -- ‘Dear Mike, Good luck with your career. Wayne, No. 99,’ ” Meyers said.

“That’s the Holy Grail right there.”

Trivia answer

Kevin Johnson, who will be in a run-off election for mayor of Sacramento in November, played 62 minutes for the Suns in a 129-121 triple overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls in 1993.

Nose for the ball

David Beckham’s latest injury caused its usual stir across the pop culture front, but the Galaxy star’s mishap had nothing to do with soccer.

Beckham, among the courtside glitterati at Lakers games, told talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel that he suffered a scratch on his nose playing hoops.

“My oldest son the other day threw the ball at the net and it bounced off the ring and smacked me in the face,” Beckham said.

Note to Becks: In case Kobe hasn’t mentioned it, it’s OK to use your hands in basketball.

And finally

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in January declined overtures from Republican and Democratic representatives to campaign with them during Florida’s presidential primaries.

Tebow recently told Matt Hayes of the Sporting News that he had not ruled out a political career when he stops playing football.

“I didn’t feel it was right to publicly show support right now,” Tebow said. “I am conservative. I am interested in politics, I pay attention. But there’s too much on my plate right now. That may be something that comes in the future.”