Shaq explains why he voted for the first time this year

Shaquille O’Neal reveals he just voted for the first time ever

NBA legend Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal surprised many when he announced on his podcast last week that he voted for the first time this year.

The 48-year-old shared the revelation on his podcast “The Big Podcast with Shaq.” During the podcast, he did not specify whether he voted in the primaries. He said he cast an absentee ballot for president.

During O’Neal’s decades-long professional basketball career, he never spoke about political issues or endorsed a candidate. The former Los Angeles Lakers star said prior to this year, he also didn’t fully understand the Electoral College system.

ExploreMichelle Obama, LeBron James team to help boost early voting

″[N]ow I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite," O’Neal said.

He said understanding about local elections helped him take voting more seriously. Recently, he helped Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with her campaign because he lives in nearby McDonough. The sports commentator also helped with races in the communities of some of his others residences, including Lafayette, Louisiana, and Naples, Florida.

This summer, the Papa John’s owner also partnered with former first lady Michelle Obama on her voting initiative, When We All Vote. He did not specify who he voted for in the election.

“I’m not saying I will never endorse anybody. I’m just not going to talk about it,” O’Neal said at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year event in New York City.

Current Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is also part of the voting effort.

Obama’s When We All Vote and James' More Than A Vote are teaming to provide information, transportation, food, music, personal protective equipment and other support at early voting sites around the country Oct. 18-31.

“Millions of Americans have already cast their ballot, and with only 21 days until Election Day, making your plan to vote early is critical,” Mrs. Obama said Tuesday in a statement to The Associated Press. “It’s now up to us to do everything in our power to get our friends and family ready to vote early and safely together. We can’t leave anyone behind.”

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