Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal no longer wants to be considered a celebrity in light of “crazy” things that many celebrities are doing in today’s world and how they treat people.
“These celebrities are going freaking crazy and I don’t want to be one. I denounce my celebrity-ness today. I’m done with it,” O’Neal told the New York Post. “I don’t want to be in that category. Celebrities are crazy, they really are. Don’t call me that anymore. These people are out of their freaking mind with how they treat people, what they do, what they say. That’s never been me. I never want to be looked at like that.”
The Post noted that since retiring from the NBA, O’Neal has focused on helping others and is known for performing random acts of kindness.
The report highlighted one such instance when O’Neal bought a stranger an engagement ring at a jewelry store.
“I went in there to get some loop earrings and I seen the guy and he was just so shy and he was saying [to the cashier], ‘Hey, how much do I owe to pay off the ring?’ I said, ‘My man, how much is the ring?’” O’Neal said, later adding that the kind gesture “is just something I do everyday.”
“I’m into making people happy, so whenever I leave the house I just try and do a good deed. I didn’t mean for that to get out. That’s not why I do it… The guy just came in, he was a young kid, hardworking guy,” Shaq said. “I was like, you know what, ‘Tell your girlfriend I got it, I’ll take care of it.’ At first he didn’t want to take it,” O’Neal recalled, later adding, “I’m just trying to make people smile, that’s all.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 7, 2021
O’Neal has at times spoken up for values that many celebrities are quiet on, like the issue of free speech.
The Daily Wire previously highlighted how O’Neal spoke out against China over the controversy back in 2019 when Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet in support of Hong Kong.
“As American people, we do a lot of business in China,” O’Neal said. “And they know and understand our values and we understand their values. And one of our best values in America is free speech. We’re allowed to say what we want to say and we’re allowed to speak up on injustices, and that’s just how it goes. And if people don’t understand that, that’s something that they have to deal with.”
“Daryl Morey was right,” O’Neal said. “Whenever you see something going on wrong anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say that’s not right, and that’s what he did.”
“Here, we have the right to speak,” O’Neal continued. “And especially with social media, we’re going to say whatever we want to say, when we want to say it.”