Shaquille O’Neal: ‘Celebrities Are Crazy. Don’t Call Me That Anymore’

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 22: Shaquille O'Neal has his number retired during a game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Arena on December 22, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, …
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NBA great Shaquille O’Neal no longer wants to be called a “celebrity,” referring to them as “crazy” people. Speaking to the New York Post, the former Lakers champion center said he now wants to be known for his acts of kindness rather than his fame.

“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,” he told the outlet.

“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.”

The rapper and actor said celebrities often get “stereotyped” because most celebrities are “out of their mind.”

Shaquille O’Neal holds the MVP trophy (R) and the Larry O’Brian Championship trophy (L) after the Los Angeles Lakers won game five of the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers 15 June, 2001 at First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA. (STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)

“All my life, everyone probably gets stereotyped, but us celebrities, we get stereotyped because most of these celebrities are out of their mind. I don’t do that. I’m a regular person that listened, followed his dreams and made it,” he said.

Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq-A-Claus) MS. Mitchel lPrinciple (next to Shaq) and Colonel Gregory L. Lemons U.S. Marine Corp. (last on right) visits Humphries Elementary School as part of the Marines Toys for Tots program on December 5, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Toys”R”Us)

(Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Toys”R”Us)

While O’Neal acknowledged his rags-to-riches story, he emphasized that he does not think of himself as greater or smarter than the average person.

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.”

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.

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.’

While O’Neal has been celebrated for his past random acts of kindness, such as when he paid for a stranger’s engagement ring and when he helped fund his favorite Atlanta restaurant during the pandemic — Shaq highlighted his latest endeavor with Kellogg’s cereal, which aims to help middle-schoolers.

Unlike former Lakers superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal has largely resisted the current celebrity trend toward political correctness. In August of this year, O’Neal even lamented about the terror of cancel culture.

“I try to tell people I’m a real model, not a role model,” he said on the Full Send podcast. “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.”

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.