Shaquille O’Neal Says He Just Voted for First Time in His Life

Shaquille O'Neal attends WarnerMedia Upfront 2019 arrivals outside of The Theater at Madison Square Garden on New York, NY - May 15, 2019. (Credit: Shutterstock)

He’s never done it before, but Shaquille O’Neal says this year he’s exercising his right to vote.

The 48-year-old NBA legend revealed this week on “The Big Podcast with Shaq” that he just voted for the first time ever.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession. You know I always like being honest on my podcast. I’ve never voted before, America,” Shaq said according to Yahoo Sports. “But now I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite. So the other day, I got my absentee ballot… In other words America, I voted for the first time, and it feels good.”

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After being pressed by his co-host, O’Neal explained that he didn’t understand the electoral college system. He mentioned the 2016 presidential election, which saw Hillary Clinton win the popular vote, but Donald Trump was elected after picking up the most electoral votes.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star admitted he had “no excuse” for not voting before, but on the flip side he said he was “involved” in the political process, by helping several politicians get elected. O’Neal retired from the NBA in 2011, and currently works as an NBA analyst for TNT.

According to the Pew Research organization, Black men voted in lower numbers in the 2016 presidential election than other segments of the population. Researchers found 64% of eligible Black women said they voted, compared with 54% of eligible Black men. Meanwhile, 67% of White women and 64% of White men voted in the election.

With this in mind, a new political action committee called BlackMenVoting launched a campaign this year to increase voter engagement among African American men, particularly in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. The group kicked off its campaign on Sept. 29 in Los Angeles.