I'm not going to call him a celebrity, because as large as I am, Shaq evens dwarfs me -- but, there are few people of note at that level that have as big of a heart and are as generous with their time, heart and money as NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille (Shaq) O'Neal.
I might be a little biased here, because I remember when Shaq was drafted into the NBA by the Orlando Magic when I was 10-years-old. I still have multiples of his rookie cards. Shaq was larger than life, still is. His personality, along with his admiration of the once All-American character of Superman, his humbleness despite practically being a giant, his respect for police, his respect for the military and his societal colorblindness make Shaq a true role model that kids can figuratively and literally look up to.
Put aside all the things he's accomplished on the basketball court, which are tremendous in their own right. Shaq, by all accounts, is just a good human being.
So when I heard about his interview, released on Friday, with the New York Post's Jenna Lemoncelli, I had to take note and make sure all of you knew about it, because there are some people of note who still "get it," whatever "it" is.
Here's what Shaq said:
"Celebrities are crazy. I don't even want to be in that category. They are. They're going freakin' insane. Don't call me that anymore. These people are out of their freakin' mind. How they treat people, what they do, what they say. That's never been me. I never want to be looked at like that.
And you know, all my life, you know, we -- everyone probably gets stereotyped -- but us celebrities we get stereotyped, because most of these celebrities are out of their damn mind. I don't want to do that.
I'm a regular person that listened, followed his dreams, made it. But just because I made it, don't mean I'm bigger than you. Just cause I've made it don't mean I'm smarter than you. Just cause I have more money than you don't mean that I'm better than you. I've never been that way, and I'll never be that way.
So I don't want to be in that category with them people. So when they talk about Shaq and say, 'What you say? He's a nice guy.' Cause what else can you be? Cause you're either nice or the A-word, and I definitely don't want to be looked at as the A-word. I want people to say, 'Bro, he's nice. He don't have an entourage. His people didn't take my phone cause I took a picture and threw it.'
Like this, these celebrities are going freaking crazy, and I don't want to be one. I denounce my 'celebrtiness' today. I'm done with it."
Here's the thing. I don't know why anyone would, but if some celebrity had a problem with what Shaq said, what are they going to do? He's freakin' Shaq! What are they going to step to him? Give me break. He could squash them in between his toes -- not that he would.
We get so bogged down in what it means to be a celebrity that it becomes a sole motivation for what a lot of people do on social media and video platforms. They pretend to be celebrities or "influencers," when in reality, they're just people like you or I. They look to be who they're not and aspire to be a person that doesn't resemble who they really are. It's sad, actually.
Then you have people like Shaq.
Shaq is the man. He doesn't have an ego like Jordan or LeBron. He knows what he's capable of, and is secure in what he isn't. Shaq doesn't need affirmation from anyone on his accomplishments or his good deeds. He lets his actions speak for themselves, and they say more than he ever could.
For video of what Shaq said, watch below: