Shaquille O’Neal has officially renounced his celebrity status because, according to the basketball legend, that particular class of people is “freaking insane.”
The “Inside the NBA” analyst and former player has been among the celebrity elite since the early ’90s but is ready to shed the label because, according to him, the stars aren’t all right.
“Celebrities are crazy. I don’t want to be in that category. … They’re going freaking insane. Don’t call me that anymore,” he told the New York Post in an interview published on Sept. 24. “These people are out of their freaking 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.”
The four-time NBA champion explained that while he’s no stranger to the negative stereotypes that can surround celebrities, a lot of them are rightfully earned because a good bit of the rich and famous are “out of their damn mind.”
“All my life, we, well everyone probably gets stereotyped, but us celebrities, we get stereotyped because most of these celebrities are out of their damn mind. I don’t do that,” he said. “I’m a regular person that listened, followed his dreams, made it. Just because I made it don’t mean that I’m bigger than you. Just because I made it don’t mean I’m smarter than you. Just because I have more money don’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 with them people.”
If given the option, O’Neal prefers that his legacy includes being known as a “nice guy” as opposed to a celebrity “A-word,” and even went as far as denouncing his status altogether. “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.’
“These celebrities are going freaking crazy and I don’t want to be one,” he added. “I denounce my celebrity-ness today. I’m done with it.”
Shaq’s sincerity was felt by fans who respected his humility.
“Well you are bigger then me and you do have more money then me 😂😂😂😂 but I love the fact that he’s very humble ❤️
“That’s dope of him even tho he’ll always be looked at that way. Imagine what he’s seen being on the inside.”
Not one to just talk the talk, O’Neal has been using his celebrity status to better the world around him by giving back through a variety of philanthropic efforts, including his Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, his “Shaq Gives Back” campaign in partnership with The General Insurance, and random acts of kindness like buying 10 pairs of shoes for an Atlanta teen.