Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal has revealed the area in which he plans to run for sheriff in 2020. His NBA career has taken him all over the country, and as a result, he has served as a reserve deputy in several different jurisdictions.
As a resident of the Orlando area, Shaq originally contemplated seeking public office for the first time in Florida. Given his multi-year contract extension with the Atlanta-based TNT network as a studio analyst for Inside the NBA, the Shaq for Sheriff campaign will apparently take place in Henry County, Georgia, in the Atlanta area, where he owns a home, the Washington Post confirmed.
The popular O'Neal, 45, is a ubiquitous pitchman on TV commercials, and as part of a promotional gig with a home security company, Shaq told Business Insider that he wants to bring back community policing so that cops and citizens can develop a closer relationship like it used to be. He added that while "it's tough for both sides" at the moment, police officers were loved and respected when he was growing up.
"When I was in LA, I went through a full-fledged police academy, so I know the hard work and dedication that these guys put in to keep people safe. Me running for sheriff — I've felt, over the past couple of years, there's been a disconnect from the community and police. So, the community that I'm in – I'm definitely gonna try to bring that back together."
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, the 7 ft. 1 center 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. The would-be sheriff also played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics as his 19-year career wound down.
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 Hall of Fame in 2016.
If he wins the election for Henry County sheriff in 2020, Shaquille O'Neal plans to surround himself with veteran police officers "to ensure that we do things to the highest quality as possible."