NBA Hall-of-famer Shaquille O’Neal announced in an interview with an NBC affiliate that he wants to restore local communities’ faith in the police, and what better way to go about that than running for sheriff? The retired all-star Center and 4-time NBA champion would most likely run for the role in either Georgia or Florida.
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“This is not about politics, this is about bringing people closer together,” O’Neal said in the interview. “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.” It also won’t be the 7’1″ man-mountain’s first experience in the field of law enforcement either.
The 45-year-old O’Neal had uncles who were police officers, role models he has admired since he was a teenager. Shaq himself was sworn in as an honorary deputy in Clayton County, Georgia last December, as well as a reserve police officer at departments in California, Florida and Arizona, however, these positions have mostly been unpaid and honorary. Running for sheriff will be a whole new ballgame.
First of all, Shaq would need to be elected sheriff. If he’s successful and gets the job, O’Neal would then be in charge of a county in the state, giving him the power to make arrests and serve arrests warrants as well as perform other duties, such as traffic control and investigations into homicide and narcotics cases, although undercover work might be a stretch for one of the biggest names, and people, in NBA history.
O’Neal believes that his proven ability to lead a team, combined with his personality and ability to communicate would make him perfect for the job. “I can put on a suit and have a conversation with Bill Gates. I can go to the hood and talk with the homies and the children,” he said. “I know how to run a team. My style will be to surround myself with smarter people and I know I’ll be successful.”
For those who think that this latest announcement is just another grasp for attention in a long line of publicity stunts for Shaquille O’Neal, don’t be so sure, it looks like he was completely serious this time, ending his interview, “Shaq for Sheriff! Back to the old school.” Watch it here.