US & Canada

Shaquille O'Neal plans to run for sheriff

Former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O"Neal speaks during a NBA game. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption O'Neal says he wants to bring people closer together

US basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal has announced his plans to run for sheriff in 2020, but he has not yet decided where.

The former NBA star, known as Shaq, owns homes in both Georgia and Florida and could run in either state.

"This is not about politics. This is about bringing people closer together," O'Neal told an Atlanta news outlet.

He is an honorary deputy in Clayton County in Georgia and has served as a reserve police officer in Florida.

Image copyright Clayton County Sheriff
Image caption Shaquille O'Neal was sworn in as a sheriff's deputy in Georgia last December

"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 that I serve," the former Lakers star told NBC affiliate WXIA.

The Hall of Famer said his ability to relate to everyone makes him perfect for the role.

"I can put on a suit and have a conversation with Bill Gates. I can go in the hood and talk to the homies, and talk to the children," he said.

His imposing 7ft 1in (2.16m) bulk would surely also come in useful as a deterrent to would-be law-breakers.

"My style is going to be to surround myself with guys that have been doing it way longer than I've been doing it, surround myself with smarter people. And I know it will be successful."

O'Neal is also a deputy marshal in Lafayette, Louisiana, according to Southern Living.