Stephen A. Smith hilariously puts his foot down over idea of Shaquille O’Neal running for president

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal recently caught the intrigue of plenty of folks on social media by sporting a shirt that presented him as a presidential candidate for next year’s election in the United States.

While O’Neal’s post on X (formerly Twitter) was likely made in good fun, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith couldn’t help but react, saying that the Hall of Famer is ill-equipped to handle the stress of running a country.

It’s unclear how fascinated O’Neal actually is with the idea of being the U.S. president. In the 2020 presidential election, he admitted to voting for the first time, a possible sign of increased civic interest. He also participated in a virtual rally to support Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Running for the highest elected position in the nation would likely require O’Neal to give up some of his other commitments, including being a staple on “Inside the NBA.” That would certainly sadden some fans of the show, as many have enjoyed his banter with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.

O’Neal has proven that he is a winner. During his NBA career, he won a total of four rings, securing three titles while playing for the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. His last championship came in 2006 while he was with the Miami Heat.

There’s a school of thought that the retired big man could have won more titles if he and Kobe Bryant had a different relationship as teammates in Los Angeles.

Having the duo on the same roster proved to be an effective recipe for success. Unfortunately, the Lakers icons got on each other’s bad sides, with their partnership officially coming to an end in the 2004 offseason.

O’Neal ended up playing a total of eight seasons for the Purple and Gold. During that stretch, he established himself as one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game, averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest and winning a league MVP once.

After his stint in L.A. ended, he bounced around from one team to another, looking to add another trophy to his collection. Only in Miami did he find success in that endeavor.

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