Shaquille O'Neal plans to run for sheriff somewhere in 2020.
The retired NBA star and recent Hall of Fame inductee wants to run on a platform of bringing the community together and fostering more respect for police, according to Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA.
The question came in an interview with O'Neal about his good deeds throughout the metro Atlanta area. O'Neal has previously earned public adulation for rescuing a beloved Krispy Kreme Donuts by purchasing it, quietly covering an accidentally killed teen's funeral expenses, and helping a five-year-old girl mauled by a dog on her way to the bus stop.
Given all of O'Neal's good will, WXIA asked: would he consider running for mayor of Atlanta?
No, the basketball star responded.
But he added, "In 2020, I plan on running for sheriff."
The only question is where he will launch his campaign, WXIA noted.
He could run for sheriff in Henry County, where he is a resident. The incumbent there is up for reelection in 2020. He could run in Florida where he also has residency. He also could move somewhere between now and 2020, and establish new residency.
"I haven't made my mind up yet," he said.
O'Neal intends to run to unify the community and reestablish respect for the police.
"This is not about politics. This is about bringing people closer together," O'Neal said. "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 I serve."
He emphasized his ability to relate to anyone as a major plus for his potential candidacy.
"I can put 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," the hall-of-famer explained.
O'Neal is currently an honorary deputy in Clayton County, Ga., but has no actual law enforcement experience. Nonetheless, he insisted that he could address this issue by leveraging his natural team-building ability.
"I know how to run a team," the former Lakers star said. "My style is going to be to surround myself with guys who have been doing it way longer than I've been doing it. Surround myself with smarter people."
Wherever he does run, O'Neal already has his campaign slogan. As he said at the end of his interview: "Shaq for sheriff! Back to the old school."
Published under: Basketball