Shaquille O'Neal has rejected his celebrity status.
The NBA star is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time but in an interview with the New York Post, O'Neal revealed that he did not want to be part of the glitz and glamour.
"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," he said. "I don’t want to be in that category," O'Neal continued. "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."
O'Neal would rather spend his time giving back to the community. Most recently, he partnered with Papa John's for a campaign that sees $1 from every purchase of his Shaq-a-Roni pizza go towards supporting COVID-19 relief, the fight against racial injustice, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the United Negro College Fund, and community involvement, Fox News reported.
"All my life, everyone probably gets stereotyped, 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," O'Neal explained to the New York Post.
"I came from nothing," he added. "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."
O'Neal's kindness shone through earlier this year when he decided to pay for an engagement ring that a man had on layaway.
"I saw the guy, he was just so shy. He was saying, 'Hey, how much do I owe to pay off the ring,'" he said during the NBA aftershow on TNT at the time. O'Neal described the man as a "young kid, a hardworking guy."
"I said, 'You know what, tell your girlfriend I got it. Take care of her,'" he said. "And at first he didn't want to take it and I said, 'don't worry I do it all the time.' I'm just trying to make people smile."
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