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    Shaquille O’Neal

    Basketball Star Shaquille O’Neal Becomes First US Sports Envoy to Cuba

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    Retired US sports icon Shaquille O’Neal has been selected as the first US sports envoy to Cuba amid an ongoing thaw in relations between the two countries, the US Department of State said in press release on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — While in Cuba, O’Neal will be joined by the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Dallas Mavericks’ Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales to lead basketball clinics for Cuban youth, the release noted.

    "This people-to-people program taps into the unique strength of sports — including basketball — to reach out to young people and promote cooperation and engagement in Cuba," the release stated.

    The release also said O’Neal’s visit will build on the momentum of President Barack Obama’s historic March trip to Cuba.

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