Shaq Says He's Running For Sheriff In 2020
Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal told a local TV station in Atlanta on Friday that he'll be running for sheriff in 2020.
If Mr. Kazaam is being serious (and it sounds like he is), the big question revolves around where he'll be running—O'Neal didn't mention a specific city to WXIA. According to ESPN, O'Neal is a resident of both Florida and Georgia.
O'Neal told WXIA that he'd wanted to restore a sense of trust between communities and local law enforcement. "You know, when I was coming up, people love and respected the police, the deputies. And I want to be the one to bring that back, especially in the community that I serve," said O'Neal.
It doesn't sound like O'Neal will be following any "Drain The Swamp" mantra, however. In fact, he may make it a point of doing the exact opposite as a strategy. “My style is going to be to surround myself with guys that have been doing it way longer than I’ve been doing it, surround myself with smarter people,” said O’Neal. It is refreshing, however, to hear an aspiring official to admit that there are other, more knowledgeable people out there.
As for his own role, O'Neal implied that he'll work as a unifying force—a leader who's also attuned to the myriad needs of a diverse community. "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. And I know how to run the team,” said O'Neal. What O'Neal failed to mention is that he's well-versed in the art of "Shaq Fu," so he comes ready with a knowledge of hand-to-hand combat.
This isn't the first time that O'Neal has espoused an interest in law enforcement. As noted at ESPN, he is an honorary deputy in Georgia's Clayton County, and has served as a reserve police officer in Los Angeles; Miami Beach; Tempe, Arizona; Golden Beach, Florida; and Doral, Florida. That's a lot of ride-alongs!
There's not much in way of precedence when it comes to celebrities and superstar athletes becoming sheriff. The best example we can think of is actor Steven Seagal, who became a bonafide sheriff's deputy in New Mexico in 2013. Before that, he was a reserve deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana, and his exploits were filmed for the A&E series Steven Seagal: Lawman, which ran in 2009. Seagal would resign in 2010 after a personal assistant filed a $1 million sexual harassment lawsuit against him, claiming he'd tried to keep her as a "sex toy."