Shaq for sheriff? NBA legend O’Neal reveals plans for law enforcement career
Four-time NBA champion Shaq told Atlanta, Georgia, news channel 11Alive News that he plans to fulfill a lifelong ambition by running for Sheriff in 2020.
“This is not about politics for me. This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Shaq, who is originally from New Jersey, but currently lives in Atlanta.
“It’s just about bringing people closer together. You know, when I was coming up, people loved and respected the police, the deputies and I wanna be the one to bring that back, especially in the community I serve.
“I’m a guy that speaks all languages; I can throw on a suit and have a conversation with Bill Gates; I can go into the ‘hood and speak to the homies, the children; I know how to run a team.
“My style is going to be to surround myself with guys that have been doing it way longer than I’ve been doing it – surround myself with smarter people and I know how to be a success,” he added.
During his glittering career in the NBA, Shaq became involved in law enforcement training and was subsequently sworn into several sheriff’s departments.
Over the course of his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996-2004, Shaq enrolled the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy and became an officer with the LA Port Police.
Following his trade to Miami Heat, he enrolled as a Miami Beach reserve officer and on March 2, 2005, was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title, serving as part of the ‘Safe Surfin’ Foundation’ task force which tracks down sexual predators who target minors online.
In 2006, Shaq was sworn in as ‘honorary deputy’ by the local sheriff's department of Bedford County, Virginia, and just last year was sworn in as sheriff’s deputy of Clayton County, Georgia, where he holds the record for tallest deputy in the county.
Since retiring from professional basketball in 2011, the 2000 NBA Most Valuable Player has been working in media and currently works as a sports analyst on ‘Inside the NBA’.
He recently made headlines in March when he voiced questionable opinions on the shape of the globe.
“It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yes, it is,” Shaq told incredulous presenters while speaking on internet radio station podbay.fm show.
“I drive from coast to coast, and this s*** is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle.”
In April, he agreed to cover the funeral costs for 13-year-old Georgia native Malachi Hemphill who accidentally shot and killed himself while streaming on Instagram Live.