By Paco Lopez
Shaquille O’Neal is NOT your average guy. He’s over seven feet tall, weighs over three hundred pounds, and wears a size 22 shoe. He’s NOT the kind of guy you’d like to get mad, especially if he’s chasing you as a law enforcement officer.
Ironically, that’s what he told an Atlanta TV station in an interview this past weekend.
He attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police.
In March of 2005, Shaq was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshall title and was named the spokesman for the Safe Surfing Foundation. The organization tracks down child predators on the internet.
When he returned to Miami, he began training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer. In December of 2005, he was sworn in, but decided to do so in a private ceremony so as not to overshadow the other officers being sworn in that day. Rather than take the normal officer’s salary, he elected to be paid ONE DOLLAR annually for his service to the community.
It wasn’t long after that the “Big Badge” witnessed a hate crime. Two men were screaming out homophobic slurs and beating another man. He called Miami-Dade police and gave a description of the suspect. While on his cell phone, he helped the cops track down the perpetrator of the crime, which resulted in an arrest of two suspects.
In September of the following year, he took part in a raid of a home in Bedford County, Virginia, after being made an “honorary deputy” by the local sheriff’s department. He did so, though he was not qualified as a SWAT officer.
Fifteen months later, in December of 2016, Shaq was sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy in Jonesboro, Georgia as part of Clayton County, Georgia Sheriff’s Department. O’Neal has a residence in Henry County, Georgia (as well as Florida) and holds the county record of Tallest Sheriff’s Deputy ever. Surprise!
And NOW…The Big Aristotle says he wants to do it “for real!” He’s told the world that he’d like to run for Sheriff in 2020.
“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.”
The question is, since I mentioned earlier, he has two residences, one in Georgia and one in Florida. However, there IS a Sheriff’s election in Georgia in 2020. Time will tell.
So, he switches uniforms, from basketball, where he took shots, to a Sheriff’s uniform, where he will…well…take shots.
By the way, for the record, “Diesel” (as he’s known in the Dojo) began training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in 2000 at Jonathan Burke’s Gracie Gym, where he’s learned boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling.
Criminals…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!