With Los Angeles Lakers fans, the jury is still out on the departure of center Shaquille O’Neal. There are those that are glad to see him gone, and then there are those who really miss the big guy. For Albert Pineda, who runs Da Shop in Los Angeles, Shaq is more than a customer. He is family.
“He’s the brother that’s always been there for me,” said Pineda with vibe in his voice. “In this game there aren’t too many honest people out there.”
Pineda is the first to admit that without Shaq’s help, Da Shop would not be the success story it is today. Pineda’s involvement with Shaq goes back to the days when Pineda worked at another shop that used to do Shaq’s cars. After Pineda left that shop, Shaq was unsatisfied with the work done on his cars. One of his cousins, Derrick Mallet, was a good friend of Pineda and told Shaq that Pineda didn’t work there anymore. Shaq contacted Pineda, asking him to build a van. “That’s what got it all started,” Pineda said.
Shaq did a lot of publicity for Pineda, telling many of his fellow NBA players about Da Shop, recommending Pineda’s work. Former Lakers Jannero Pargo and Kareem Rush were next, then former Los Angeles Clippers Darius Miles and Andre Miller. The roster just kept growing and growing.
Within two years, Da Shop had outgrown itself, which isn’t really a bad thing. “I’ve known companies that have been around for 15 years. I have to say, thank God, what they achieved in that time I did in two years,” Pineda said. And, of course, “All that—I have to thank Shaq,” he added.1964 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport ENGINE:
• 350 Small Block Chevy, 350 hp
• Edelbrock Victor JR intakes
• Custom-made headers
• Gremlin 650 CFM carburetor Body:
• House Of Colors, Candy Apple Red paint job
• Borla exhaust
• Classic Performance 2” drop coils
• Classic Performance lower spindles
• 20” Bonspeed Laguna wheels (custom painted Candy Apple Red)
• Pirelli P-Zero Tires: 255/35R20
• Baer Brakes, front and rear