Shaquille O’Neal has revealed he voted for the first time in his life. On “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” the 48-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers center on Wednesday confessed to never having voted before and described filling out an absentee ballot.
“You know I always like being honest on my podcast. I’ve never voted before, America,” O’Neal said. “But, now I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite.”
“In other words, America, I voted for the first time, and it feels good,” he told his co-hosts, who were shocked by the admission.
After being pressed by co-host John Kincade, O’Neal explained that he “didn’t understand the electoral college system.” He brought up the 2016 election when then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but still lost to Donald Trump, who emerged with more electoral votes and became president.
He said he has “no excuse” for not voting earlier, but credited being more “involved” in helping officials getting elected, such as Atlanta’s district attorney, Fani Willis, and sheriffs in Lafayette, Louisiana and Naples, Florida, as more of push to cast a vote.
During Game 1 of the NBA Finals last week, O’Neal sat next to friend and former president Barack Obama as virtual fans at the game. His co-hosts were surprised he didn’t vote for him, either.
“I can’t believe you didn’t vote for Obama,” Kincade said. O’Neal did not reveal who he voted for the upcoming election.
Over the summer, O’Neal teamed up with Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and former first lady Michelle Obama’s voting initiative, When We All Vote, to launch the #MyStartingFive challenge to encourage more people to get registered and ready to vote. “Everyone needs to go out and vote, period,” he said in July.