As this post is being written for the ShaqFu Radio blog, it is officially (and un-officially) the last post before the big, BIG presidential election in the United States. With Shaq announcing only a couple weeks ago that this was the first time he’s voted in a big election, we thought a little follow-up would be in order. So did business-news cable TV outlet CNBC, which interviewed Shaq on his financial and political thoughts.
In that interview, Shaq says the next president of the U.S. must – in his words – “Bring people together,” as a matter of urgency. Pretty strong words…
As reported in previous posts, O’Neal says this was the first year he voted. While he said he had “no excuses” for not voting in the past, he recognized that he needed to step up this time, since he’s become involved with other players in various “get-out-the-vote” public service messages on TV and social media. Shaq says it “felt good” to vote, which he did by early absentee ballot. He also did not disclose who he voted for.
Shaq said “A lot of things need to change” in the US…especially after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis earlier this year.
Shaq: “We probably need police reform, we need prison reform. A lot of attitudes need to change, a lot of thought processes need to change. Once we realize that then I think we can start opening things up.”Even though this year is the first time the big man has voted in a presidential race, he’s not brand-new when it comes to politics and supporting local causes he believes in. Last spring O’Neal revealed that he’d become an auxiliary deputy at Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
“People are tired and I understand that. But at some point we need to start bringing them back together. You would never think in 2020 we would be as divided as we are…But whatever is broke, we just have to fix it,” he added.
The former NBA champion (and now business tycoon) has also been big on helping underserved kids and families. His Shaquille O’ Neal Foundation has a mission to support underserved youth.
Recently, the Foundation announced a new program that’ll get corporate support from Pepsi, which O’Neal has been affiliated with since the 1990s, will be collaborating on the project through the work of his own foundation.
Originally launched in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the national grassroots initiative provides investment and tailored schemes and resources to “empower and engage communities” across the U.S
This latest program expansion will include partnerships with local charities and NBA teams in several cities, including the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and the Washington Wizards.
Derek Lewis, south division president of PepsiCo Beverages North America, told CNBC that O’Neal was a “tremendous” partner on the project. “Shaq has got tremendous appeal for everyone in the community… He embraced… the strength of community at a very, very early age and just really has carried that throughout his entire career. We want to feed off of that… his foundation is very passionate about that work,” he said.
As for Shaq, he told CNBC, “We want to provide a range of resources like student mentoring programs, support for schools, universities and historically Black colleges.”
“We want to give back to sports and recreation facilities, domestic violence counseling resources, fostering conversation between community and local law enforcement, I want to do a lot,” he said.
See the full interview video here: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/30/shaquille-oneal-says-next-president-should-bring-people-together.html