Shaquille O’Neal plans to make a run for sheriff in the year 2020.
The retired NBA superstar has served as a reserve officer for several different police agencies across the country, but this would be his first attempt at seeking elective office, especially in a law enforcement capacity.
Shaq is currently an analyst on the Inside the NBA panel on the TNT network as well as a ubiquitous pitchman on TV commercials among other media ventures.
Shaq owns homes in the Atlanta and the Orlando areas, so it remains to be in what town the potential new sheriff will reside, including the possibility of establishing a domicile in another state to qualify to run for office there.
Drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft out of LSU, Shaq won three consecutive world championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and one a few years later with the Miami Heat. Among many honors on his stellar pro basketball resume, Shaq was a three-time NBA Finals MVP, a 15-time All-Star, a two-time scoring champion (despite an inability to consistently make free throws), and the 1993 Rookie of the Year.
Shaq is one of only three players in the league to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP, and Finals MVP awards in the same year. He was inducted into the Basketball of Fame in 2016.
The would-be sheriff also played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics as his career wound down.
O’Neal told the Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA that his interest in running for sheriff — if or when he decides upon an appropriate jurisdiction — is not about politics.
“This is something I always wanted to do. It’s about bringing people closer together. You know, when I was coming up, people loved and respected the police, the deputies. And, I want to 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 in the hood and talk to the homies, and talk to the children.”
Shaq, 45, added that he would surround himself with law enforcement professionals in order to be an effective sheriff.
His campaign slogan apparently will be “Shaq for Sheriff–back to the old school.”
“The 7-foot star — who has uncles who were police officers and has idolized their roles since his teen years — was sworn in as an honorary deputy in Clayton County, Georgia last December…and as a reserve police officer at departments in California, Florida and Arizona. Most of the roles he’s served have been appointed to him but before he takes on the position as sheriff he will have to be elected,” the Daily Mail noted.
In addition, Shaq’s stepfather was a sergeant in the U.S. Army.
With Sheriff Shaq on the scene, it seems unlikely that any suspect would be noncompliant.
Last September during an appearance on Fox & Friends, O’Neal diplomatically expressed an opinion about the Colin Kaepernick take-a-knee National Anthem protest.
“I mean to each his own; it’s something I wouldn’t do. His comments were there were injustices. There’s always been injustices. Me personally, I would probably go about it a different way…I don’t know Colin, but again, to each is own. I don’t really have a say on it but I would never do that. My father was a military man, and he protected this country — uncles are in law enforcement, they go out and work hard every day. Just, you know, there are other ways to get your point across.”
Would you vote for Shaquille O’Neal for sheriff if he was a candidate in your county?
[Featured Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]