Why Shaquille O’Neal Wants To Retire From Being A Celebrity And What He Plans To Do Instead

Photo: Lev Radin / Shutterstock
Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is retiring again, but this time from his celebrity status.

Former basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal quickly became one of the most famous NBA players ever. 

Since his retirement from the NBA in 2011, O’Neal has made over $22 million a year through his many endorsement deals with companies like Icy Hot, Rebook, Zales, and Pepsi.

But, O’Neal is ready to hang up his celebrity status jersey, wanting to be remembered as a person who spread kindness.

Why Is Shaq retiring from being a celebrity?

“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,” O’Neal told The NY Post, while discussing his retirement plans.

RELATED: NBA Star Steph Curry And Wife Ayesha Serve Over 15 Million Meals To Families In Need During Pandemic

“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.”

Instead, Shaq wants to be known for being a good guy.

Since retiring from the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal actually has become known for his good deeds.

O’Neal paid for a stranger’s engagement ring at a Zales mall store in Atlanta, after overhearing a young man looking at engagement rings and asking about a layaway plan. 

“I seen the guy come in, and he was just so shy,” O’Neal said on the NBA on TNT Tuesday night. “He was saying, ‘How much do I owe to pay off this ring?’”

O’Neal immediately stepped in and offered to cover the tab for the ring. 

The former basketball player also recently funded one of his favorite Atlanta restaurants that had been affected by the pandemic. 

RELATED: Beyoncé & Jay-Z Partner With Tiffany's To Offer $2 Million In HBCU Scholarships – How To Apply

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

O’Neal himself grew up in a low-income household in Newark, New Jersey. He credits the Boys & Girls Club of America for helping to keep him off of the streets and out of trouble.

His latest act of kindness comes from his new Kellogg’s partnership with Mission Tiger, which will impact more than 60,000 middle-school students. 

The Mission Tiger program pledged to purchase new sports equipment, including uniforms, for students across the U.S. The schools involved in the mission will take place in the six cities where O’Neal played over 19 seasons — Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and Phoenix. 

It’s clear that Shaquille O’Neal has his heart in the right place when it comes to helping out people in different communities. 

Whether or not he is referred to as a celebrity in the future, people will definitely remember him as a kind and generous person.

RELATED: 5-Year-Old Girl Uses Tooth Fairy Money To Make ‘Bags Of Love’ For The Homeless

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.