There’s a new officer in town. Former NBA star and current sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal is now a reserve police officer in South Florida. During a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, O’Neal was sworn to the force by Doral’s very own Police Chief, Donald De Lucca. The private event was held at the Doral police department after the approval of O’Neal’s application last September. In attendance were the mayor, the city attorney, and the City Council.
Much like those who apply for the force, the famous basketball player had to go through the typical application process which included a rigorous background check. De Lucca said in an interview that O’Neal will not receive a salary for the amount of work that he is slated to do. He’s even paying for his own insurance.
From his homes in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, the 7-foot former player will commute to Doral to serve as a role model for children and to conduct community work in the area. This isn’t the first time that O’Neal is working to improve local conditions. The star also served as a reserve police officer in a number of places like Florida, Arizona, and the Port of Los Angeles.
Although O’Neal carved a successful path in basketball, he considers policing as his true calling. He was raised by a stepfather who was in the army and two of his uncles served for the police force. His interest towards becoming a police officer started when he was just in his early teens.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Chief De Lucca explained why Shaq was the right man for the job.
“He’s a great leader. I’m learning from him, watching him. He’s a good friend of mine, and in order to become a great leader, you have to master their style and then create your own style.”
De Lucca previously worked with O’Neal when the basketball player was still policing the beaches of Miami.
O’Neal revealed how he wants to become a police chief just like De Lucca.
“When it’s all said and done… in either Orange County, Dade County or Broward. But, I have to work from the ground up first.”
Shaq showed off his signature “Shaq attack” inside the court, but his new job comes with bigger responsibilities. After playing for six different teams during his almost 20-year stay in the NBA, O’Neal is gearing up for his biggest adversary: street crime. If only the police department can find out how to design a special uniform for O’Neal’s giant stature.
“At some point we’ll get him an official polo shirt, but for now he has his badge.”
[Image via YouTube]