Shaquille O'Neal Jul 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Shaquille O’Neal, AKA DJ Diesel, performs before the game between the San Diego Legion and the New England Free Jacks at Seat Geek Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being in every commercial known to man and perhaps being the most recognizable person on the planet, Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want to be in the celebrity category.

That’s a label that doesn’t belong to him, even if it fits.

“You know why I had to denounce myself from being a celebrity about six, seven years ago? Celebrities are a*******. They just are. I never want to be in that category,” the NBA Hall of Famer told PEOPLE Magazine, explaining that “a lot of these people, when they come to a certain status, it automatically gives them the right to think they’re smarter than you, they’re better than you, they’re bigger than you, and I never wanted to be like that.”

O’Neal has chosen to distance himself from the celebrity label due to his perception of some celebrities as arrogant or entitled. At the same time, Shaq expressed his decision to denounce himself as a celebrity because he didn’t want to be associated with the negative traits he attributes to some individuals in that category.

Although Shaq may deny his celebrity status, he has endorsed numerous companies and brands such as Buick, Pepsi, Epson, Papa John’s, and Carnival. He is also the spokesperson for The General, an insurance company. Additionally, he works as an analyst on NBA on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

So, there’s a good chance you may see Shaq whenever you turn on your TV.

Shaq prides himself on being an atypical celebrity. He neither flaunts his wealth nor travels with an entourage.

“I have to do regular people’s stuff because I’m a regular person,” he said. “I ain’t got no security. I ain’t got no entourage. I’m just a guy that played in the NBA.”


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.