You can call him Dr. O’Neal, Diesel, The Big Aristotle, or Superman. But from now on, don’t call Shaquille O’Neal a celebrity. That’s a title Shaq gave up while discussing his new campaign with Kellogg’s.
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.Shaquille O’Neal, New York Post
There are only a few globally recognized individuals as versatile as O’Neal. But despite his all-time great NBA resume, admirable broadcasting career, and countless business ventures, Shaq’s hard-earned celebrity status is something he no longer wants to be recognized for. And for all the right reasons.
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.Shaquille O’Neal, New York Post
Associating individuals with groups is inevitable. But the generalization that comes along with celebrity status is something O’Neal no longer finds appealing. That’s why he wants to be looked at solely as an individual. “All my life, everyone probably gets stereotyped,” Shaq told The Post. “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.“
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.Shaquille O’Neal, New York Post
Instead, Shaq wants to be remembered for his benevolence before anything else. And he’s on the right track. For years, he’s been able to find a different way into the spotlight with his random acts of kindness — like the time he bought a fan a laptop for expressing his condolences for Kobe’s tragic passing, or when he donated a house to a 12-year-old shooting victim’s family, or when he paid for a fan’s engagement ring.
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.’Shaquille O’Neal, New York Post
No one said something like that about O’Neal. And he just made sure no one ever will. Unfortunately for him, denouncing his celebrity status won’t work, and he’ll always stay one of the most famous NBA individuals out there. But he’ll never think of himself that way. And that’s what it’s all about.