In early June Fitz Fish Ponds had the opportunity to deliver an amazing koi to an amazing client. A 39 inch Yamabuki from the breeder Izuymia in Niigata, Japan, was delivered to Shaquille O’Neal!
As some may know, Aquascape was working on a major pond project at Shaquille O’Neal’s Georgia residence. Brian Fitzsimmons, CEO and owner of Fitz Fish Ponds, drove the koi coined “Shakoi O’Neal” from New Jersey to Georgia along with AJ Mandell & Tim Waddington of Quality Nishikigoi who flew in from the UK to help make the trip.
Leading up to delivery day, Fitz and the team at FFP wanted to reveal the koi to Shaq in style. Rae Cauley, a Green Brook retail store associate, also doubles as an extremely talented artist and designed and painted a custom box for “Shakoi” to be delivered in. She incorporated some of Shaq’s emblems such as the Superman logo, our FFP Logo, Shaq’s basketball numbers and his dunking logo as well as a depiction of the stellar Yamabuki.
To transport the koi, the Yamabuki was placed in a shipping bag with plenty of oxygen and water for the trip. Fitz, AJ and Tim rented a van and began their trip to Georgia. Koi are able to stay bagged up in transport for 48 hours, so the koi was more than safe during their travel, especially with this highly trained team escorting and monitoring the koi.
When they arrived in Georgia, the proper acclimation steps were followed to introduce the koi to Shaq’s beautiful new pond, however for the unveiling the koi was re-bagged and presented to Shaq himself!
Fitz and the FFP team is so glad that Shaq loves his new koi— he even jokingly commented on the koi’s impressive size by wanting to name it “Charles Barkley”. He also gave Brian Fitzsimmons and Fitz Fish Ponds a direct shout out.
To share this exciting experience with customers, family and friends, Fitz posted a tik tok and instagram reel that showed Shaq’s reaction to the koi! Much to their surprise, this was making headlines in news sources the following day. An article was written in The New York Post titled “Shaquille O’Neal buys huge fish and uses it to troll Charles Barkley” . Another written in Talkbasket.net titled “Shaquille O’Neal buys huge fish, trolls Charles Barkley.” and even more articles written from OutKick.com & Hot New Hip Hop Today with the similarly titled, “SHAKOI O’NEAL! SHAQ NOW OWNS A MASSIVE KOI SHIPPED IN FROM JAPAN, NAMES IT ‘CHARLES BARKLEY’”
It is pretty amazing for Fitz’s Fish Ponds and Brian, the owner and CEO to get mentioned in the videos and articles online alongside Shaq! Fitz and the FFP team are excited to see what comes from this opportunity and as always are happy and proud to be able to provide interested customers with some of the highest quality Japanese Imported Koi in the world.