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Shaq never wants to be in ‘celebrity’ category: ‘Celebrities are a–holes’

Shaquille ONeal5

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Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal has always appeared to have a larger-than-life personality, even as he turned into a DJ and an NBA analyst since retiring from the league.

However, no fan should dare call the “Big Diesel” a celebrity. The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar reiterated in an interview with People magazine last week that he has turned sour on the label.

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Shaquille O’Neal attends the 37th Annual Footwear News Achievement Awards at Cipriani South Street on Nov. 29, 2023 in New York City. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

“You know why I had to denounce myself from being a celebrity about six, seven years ago? Celebrities are a–holes. They just are. I never want to be in that category,” he said.

The four-time NBA champion added, “A lot of these people, when they come to a certain status, it automatically gives them the right to think they’re smarter than you, they’re better than you, they’re bigger than you, and I never wanted to be like that.”

O’Neal has maintained that stance in multiple interviews over the last five years. He insisted to People last year that he does not want to be in “the category of those jerko–s.”

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Shaq signs basketball

Shaquille O’Neal smiles before the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers as part of the 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament on Dec. 7, 2023 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Mike Kirschbaum/NBAE via Getty Images)

He also told the New York Post in 2021 not to call him a celebrity anymore.

The 15-time All-Star was one of the league’s biggest names for 19 years. He spent time with the Lakers, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.

The Magic announced earlier this month they intended to retire O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey. It will be the first jersey retirement in the franchise’s history.

“When someone asks who was the first player to officially put the Orlando Magic on the map, the answer is simple — Shaquille O’Neal,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a news release.

Shaq in 2015

Shaquille O’Neal smiles as he is inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame at the Amway Center on March 27, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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“He took this franchise to new heights, both on and off the court, and his legacy is still felt within our organization today. On behalf of the DeVos family, we are excited to honor Shaquille by raising No. 32 into the rafters of the Kia Center, where it will remain forever.”

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