GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

September 27, 2010

Shaq's visit thrills locals in Salem, Peabody

Shaq vs. Salem? No contest.

The 7-foot-1-inch Celtics center, Shaquille O'Neal, won over locals as he toured the Witch City and other North Shore haunts this weekend. Shaq and his family grabbed lunch at the Hawthorne Hotel, went shopping at the Museum Place Mall and topped it off with ice cream at Treadwell's in Peabody.

Salem native Monica Hamilton Kozlowski said she heard by word-of-mouth and online that the supersized basketball player might be in the city. She was returning from apple picking with her father, Ray Kozlowski, and her roommate, Milli Colon, when they spotted O'Neal and his family entering the Hawthorne Hotel.

"We were just driving around in circles," she said. "We drove by and saw him walk into the hotel. We happened to wait long enough, and he came out."

The 40-minute wait was worth it. They approached and asked if they could take a photo. He agreed, and they chatted briefly about his experience in Salem, which he was enjoying, and his height.

"We couldn't believe how tall he was," said Monica Hamilton Kozlowski, who is 5-foot-6. "We didn't think he was going to be that huge standing next to us."

They were among the first to encounter Shaq, but minutes later, she said, as he walked down Hawthorne Boulevard, the three-time NBA MVP started to attract attention from the crowds.

"We just took the picture and let him on his merry way," she said.

O'Neal and his family stopped at the Hawthorne Hotel's tavern for a bite to eat, said Juli Lederhaus, the hotel's general manager.

The staff, she said, was pleased to be waiting on the basketball player. And while he declined to have his picture taken in the restaurant, he did oblige a member of a wedding party at the hotel — the bridegroom and his crew.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue