It's finally official, Massachusetts residents! Thousands of sports fans and fried chicken fans have been waiting for this particular event to happen. Well, guess what? The event is finally here!

It seems like eons ago when we first heard the news about a popular fried chicken fast-food chain opening a location in the Bay State. What fast-food joint am I talking about? Big Chicken, the fried chicken chain owned by basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal.

The four-time NBA champion (three with the Lakers and one with the Heat) co-founded the crispy chicken franchise back in 2018. Big Chicken combines Shaq's home-cooked childhood favorites with some of today's trending flavors.

MassLive reports that Massachusetts' first Big Chicken location will be at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. And it opens this week. July 10th, to be precise. MassLive also reports that, in short order, six more Big Chicken stores will open throughout Massachusetts including Boston and Cape Cod.

According to MassLive, Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern (who used to be a Massachusetts resident) had this to say in a press release:

This community holds a special place in my heart from my time at P&G, Clorox and my alma-mater, Babson College. It’s been such a surreal experience to see this journey come full circle with our latest opening at the Northshore Mall.

I think it's especially cool because (and people often forget this) for Shaq's final year of pro ball before retirement he was a member of the Boston Celtics. That was the 2010-2011 season.

Way to go, Shaq! As a confirmed lifelong lover of fried chicken, I can't wait to try it! And, maybe someday, a little closer to home here in the Berkshires. For the full story, visit MassLive's website here.

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