Shaquille O'Neal Celebrates 35th Birthday in Style

Shaquille O'Neal Celebrates 35th Birthday in Style
Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal
Seth Browarnik/WireImage

updated 03/26/2007 at 06:00 PM EDT

originally published 03/27/2007 10:10AM

Shaquille O' Neal turned 35 on March 6, but the Miami Heat center and his wife, Shaunie, didn't have time to celebrate until this weekend with a bash in Miami.

O'Neal's party on Saturday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., included a giant cake with sparklers, a performance by Ludacris and a fireworks display.

For the fete, the 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live arena was transformed into a white-and-silver oasis of chandeliers, white shag rugs and leather couches.

Outside, red carpet arrivals included O'Neal's fellow Miami Heat players, who were in good spirits despite having lost earlier that day to the Philidelphia 76ers.

"If everyone is happy – my wife, my children – then I'm happy," O'Neal told PEOPLE. "I have pretty much everything I need."

But O'Neal still got some gifts: DJ Irie, the official deejay for the Miami Heat, told PEOPLE he gave O'Neal an iPod loaded with at least 200 of his favorite songs. "Shaq is always asking me for a different song. He wants to know what I played," he said. "He loved it."

At one point, Shaunie took to the stage with her husband and presented him with a cake covered in sparklers. After the sparklers went out, a fireworks show blasted into the air from behind the stage.

"I'm glad Michael Jackson wasn't here, he'd have caught on fire for sure," O'Neal joked.

Later, Ludacris gave a surprise performance. Halfway through his set, he was joined onstage by 85-year-old Joe Parrinello, known to Miami Heat players as "Dancing Joe."

Some of the last guests to arrive, after 1 a.m., were Star Jones Reynolds and her husband Al Reynolds. Star, whose own birthday was on Saturday, danced with friends and chatted until nearly 3:30 a.m.

"She tells it like it is, and I tell her like it is – that's why we're good friends," O'Neal said of Star, who recently signed on to host her own show on Court TV.

The party thinned out after 3:30 a.m., but O'Neal and his wife stayed, dancing and laughing with their friends until almost 5 a.m.

"This party was exactly how I envisioned it," Shaunie told PEOPLE.

For more details on Ludacris's performance, and other recent celeb sightings, check out Caught in the Act!

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