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Morning Briefing: Will they change the name to Papa Shaq’s?

Morning Briefing: Will they change the name to Papa Shaq’s?
Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Ritchie, president and CEO of Papa John's. (Associated Press)

The Big Aristotle is trying to become the Big Extra Cheese with Anchovies.

Former Laker great Shaquille O’Neal has joined the board of directors of the Papa John’s pizza chain.

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"I am so excited to be joining the Papa John’s family as a member of the board of directors, a soon-to-be investor in nine Papa John’s franchises in Atlanta and an ambassador for the brand," said O’Neal, who will buy nine Papa John’s stores in Atlanta.

Papa John’s has had declining sales ever since founder John Schnatter admitted he used a racial slur during a conference call with executives in May. He has since stepped down from any position of authority within the company.

Since then, the company has had declining sales for five straight quarters.

"I know that behind every large company, there are thousands of people that put their heart and soul into the business,” O’Neal said.

“Papa John’s is no different, and it struck a chord with me that the company is putting in the work to do better within its walls and in the communities it serves across the country."

This cries out for a commercial featuring Shaq and Kobe Bryant, where both battle over the last slice of pizza. They play one on one to decide who wins, but while they are playing Magic Johnson takes the last slice and walks away. When they finish and come over, they wonder how the pizza disappeared. Johnson leans into the frame and says “Magic!”

Showboat

You know that Yogi Berra expression, “It ain’t over till it’s over?” Well, that applies to boxing too.

Sabri Sediri, 25, had won almost every round in a super-lightweight fight against Sam Maxwell on Saturday. In the last round, he decided to do some showboating. He danced around and stuck his chin out for Maxwell to hit.

He took a bow and danced around. Leaned in and danced around. Then he let his guard down one too many times. With 14 seconds left in the fight, Maxwell connected and knocked Sediri out.

Maxwell was awarded the victory. It was the first loss of Sediri’s career.

Engineering at its finest

Michigan State’s Nick Ward is playing in the NCAA tournament despite breaking his left hand in February. How? With an assist from the school’s engineering department.

CBS reporter Dana Jacobson talked about the story during the Spartans’ win over Minnesota on Saturday. Apparently, some of the engineering students created a carbon fiber wrap for Ward’s hand. They used a 3D model that determined how much pressure and intensity his hand could take and built the wrap based on the results. The wrap the engineering students designed allowed him to return in time for the Big Ten Tournament.

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It just goes to show you, there’s more to engineering that just driving that train around all day. Good to know.

Catty-shack

Golfer Mel Reid was lining up for her second shot on the 16th hole of the LPGA’s Hope Founders Cup on Thursday at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix when viewers were given an unexpected treat: A bobcat ran across the course behind her.

Reid and her caddie, Mark Wallington, were oblivious to what was going on as the bobcat trotted behind them. After seeing video of what happened, Reid said, “I think it was a girl cat because it took one look at Wally and ran a mile.”

Reid ended up shooting a one-over 73 for the round and missed the cut after shooting an identical 73 on Friday.

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