Miami Heat

Shaq for Sheriff? O’Neal says he wants to run in 2020

If there’s a new sheriff in town, well, his name might just be Shaquille O’Neal.

The former Miami Heat star center told Atlanta television station WXIA his interest in law enforcement continues and he wants to run for sheriff – he has not said where, exactly – in 2020.

O’Neal, 45, has been working in Atlanta as a studio analyst for TNT at night while, apparently, installing home security systems during the day.

In 2015, O’Neal was sworn in as a reserve officer in Doral; he has also been sworn in with a sheriff’s department near Atlanta as well as with various police departments in Arizona, Los Angeles and South Florida.

While playing with the Heat, O’Neal would travel to Virginia to do work with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program.

When asked if he would run for mayor one day, Shaq said no. But he does want to run for office in the near future.

“This is not about politics,” O’Neal told WXIA.

“This is about bringing people closer together. When I was coming up, people loved and respected the police, the deputies. And I want to be the one to bring that back, especially in the community I serve.”

O’Neal reportedly has residences in Florida and Georgia. He spent four seasons in the NBA after being the No. 1 pick in 1992 out of LSU by the Orlando Magic.

In 1996, O’Neal left the Magic for the Lakers where he won three consecutive NBA titles from 2000-02.

O’Neal spent parts of four seasons with the Heat and helped Miami to its first NBA title in 2006. O’Neal also played for Phoenix and Cleveland before ending his career in 2011 with Boston.

The Miami Heat retired Shaq’s No. 32 this past season; the Lakers retired his No. 34 in 2013 and unveiled a statue of O’Neal slamming home a basketball outside Staples Center in Los Angeles in March.

O’Neal says he would bring an every-man approach to law enforcement.

“I can put on a suit and have a conversation with Bill Gates,” he said. “I can go in the ‘hood and talk to the homies, and talk to the children. I know how to run a team.

“My style is going to be to surround myself with guys who have been doing it way longer than I’ve been doing it. Surround myself with smarter people.”


▪ Los Angeles Lakers: Second-class reserve officer for the Port of Los Angeles police department.

▪ Miami Heat: Reserve officer in the Miami Beach Police Department.

▪ Phoenix Suns: Reserve officer with the Tempe Police Department.

▪ Post-NBA: Joined the Golden Beach and Doral police departments as a reserve officer; sworn in with the Clayton County (Ga.) Sheriffs Department; played a police officer in the movie ‘Grown Ups 2.’