NBA great Shaquille O’Neal made headlines this week when he renounced his celebrity status during a Sept. 24 interview with the New York Post and asked that from now on, he no longer be called that.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend and one of the most famous NBA players in history remarked that he doesn’t want to be seen as a typical celebrity, referring to them as “crazy” 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 on Friday.
“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,” he added.
“I came from nothing,” said the NBA player, who grew up in poverty in Newark, a city in the state of New Jersey.
“But, just because I made it doesn’t mean I’m bigger than you, smarter than you—just because I have more money doesn’t mean I’m better than you. I’ve never been that way and I never will be that way. So I don’t want to be in that category of people,” he added.
The former star basketball player said celebrities are often “stereotyped” because most celebrities “are crazy.”
“I don’t do that. I’m a regular person that listened, followed his dreams, and made it,” he stated.
O’Neal said he wants to be known for his acts of kindness rather than his fame.
“When they talk about Shaq, what do you say? ‘He’s a nice guy.’ Because what else can you be? You’re either nice or you’re the A-word, and I definitely won’t be looked at as the A-word,” he said.
“I want people to say, ‘Bro, he’s nice. He didn’t have an entourage. His people didn’t take my phone because I took a picture and threw it.”
In the interview with the New York Post, Shaquille highlighted his latest project to help high school students, for which he teamed up with Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.
“It’s a dream come true,” O’Neal said about partnering with the famous breakfast cereal company.
“Earlier this year Tony the Tiger and I teamed up to take Mission Tiger to a whole new level to help more kids, so we created this new cereal,” he recounted.
The four-time NBA champion is also known for his numerous acts of kindness to random people.
Among the most high-profile was an occasion when the basketball player paid for a stranger’s engagement ring.
Unlike other former basketball superstars, O’Neal has resisted political correctness and voiced his disapproval of the cancellation culture, Breitbart said, citing a statement he made last August:
“Everybody makes mistakes. When I make a mistake, I want you to learn from my mistake. I probably won’t make a purposeful mistake, I may make an accidental mistake, but I try to be as respectful and righteous as I can. Times are different. You can’t say things like you used to say,” O’Neal lamented.