“Celebrities are crazy. They really are,” he continued. “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.”
“All my life, everyone probably gets stereotyped, but us celebrities, we get stereotyped because most of these celebrities are out of their mind,” O’Neal added. “I don’t do that. I’m a regular person that listened, followed his dreams, and made it.”
O’Neal grew up poor in Newark, New Jersey, before finding fame and fortune in sports.
“I came from nothing. 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 said. “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.”
The four-time NBA champion is known for conducting random acts of kindness, which he says he tries to do twice per week.
Earlier this year, O’Neal surprised one of his favorite Atlanta eateries affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Restaurant 10, with a $35,000 employee relief fund.
O’Neal has partnered with Kellog’s and Mission Tiger for an initiative to help children play sports by supplying athletic equipment and uniforms for thousands of middle schoolers across the United States.