March 1, 2013
Shaquille O'Neal devours Maryville
A retired NBA player residing in Blount County has consumed the city of Maryville. The 7-foot-1, 325-pound giant was found early this morning looking for sustenance near the outskirts of the former city.
Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal began his eating binge Thursday around noon after his appetite could not be satiated with pizza and barbecue from local establishments. Witnesses say the ravenous leviathan looked sad, then smiled, picked up a parked car and ripped a sizeable hunk of rubber out of a tire with his teeth.
"It was like a light bulb went on over his head," said Adam Cobb, who lived in the suburb of Wildwood before it was devoured. "He picked up the car like it was a toy and started to gobble it. Everyone was cheering."
O'Neal moved to the Maryville-Alcoa area four years ago at the behest of his reality TV star girlfriend Nikki "Hoopz" Alexander, who is from Maryville. Thursday marked the first time that the athlete has tried to eat a local city.
"I was starving," confessed O'Neal. "I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I'm a big guy. It takes a lot to fill me up. Sorry everybody. This is so embarrassing."
Local residents said they aren't angry.
"Maryville couldn't have been eaten by a nicer guy," said Terry Noonan, who lived on the former Sanderson Street. "He's so gracious. I've run into him in what used to be town a few times. He just gets hungry. You can't blame a guy for getting hungry. I ate about 14 cheese Krystals the other day myself, so I can relate."
"Shaq can really put it away," added Becca Leigh. "I saw him eat two large pizzas once. I never thought he could eat Broadway though. That's a big street."
Maryville officials said rebuilding will begin immediately.
"This isn't the first time this has happened in East Tennessee," said Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor. "TurkZilla did a number on Knoxville last year, but they have recovered nicely. And Shaq has offered his help. In the past he's been great at helping us change streetlights. He doesn't even need a ladder."
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