Shaquille O’Neal once compared himself to the US president George Bush: “You voted me in”

After Shaquille O’Neal burst onto the NBA scene in 1992, there has never been a dull moment in his career. The center bulldozed past the competition with his natural movements and steamrolling pace, which changed the game for NBA centers. O’Neal not only influenced numerous rule changes but also had groundbreaking impact off the court.

Even when Shaq was not playing well (which did not happen often), the popularity garnered from his off-court spontaneity was enough to push him through rough patches. A similar situation occurred in the 2006-07 season when Shaq made it to the All-Star game thanks to the fan voting system.

When Shaquille O’Neal compared himself to George Bush

Shaquille O’Neal is known for his off-court antics and kind gestures that made him endeared to the fans. The glimpse of his massive popularity could be seen in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game when Shaq was voted by the fans to be in the starting lineup despite having an injury-plagued season, which forced him to miss 35 games.

The “Big Aristotle” played only 13 games that season before the All-Star game. NBA pundits and media understandably raised questions about the unjust fan voting that overpowered merit. Shaquille O’Neal had a habit of comparing himself with notable figures.

Keeping his cool, O’Neal sarcastically compared himself with the then-American President George Bush. The 4-time NBA Champion said, “I’m like President Bush. You may not like me, you may not respect me, but you voted me in.”

Although Shaq came under scrutiny for averaging 17.3 points and missing a chunk of games, he was well aware of his popularity. He was selected for the 14th time in the star-studded game as the center of the Eastern Conference team, where he scored 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.

Shaquille O’Neal met George Bush at White House in 2002

The NBA Champions visiting the White House has become a tradition over the years. With the exception of Denver Nuggets last season, the NBA Champion visit the US president’s workplace to receive honor for their great achievement.

In 2002, when the Lakers won their 14th Championship, the LA team had a similar day out in Washington. Among the Lakers squad was Shaquille O’Neal, who met then-US President George W. Bush. In the East Room on Jan. 28, Bush met with the towering Lakers star and proceeded to say, “Being champs on the court means you’ve got to be champs off the court, as well.”

The President continued addressing the Lakers squad, “And I know these players understand that every time they do something, some kid is watching. Every time they say something, some kid is listening. And I want to thank the players who understand that with victory comes huge responsibility, to encourage people to make the right choices in life.”

While the big diesel kept himself away from politics, he astonishingly voted for the first time in 2020 at the age of 48.

Even after retiring in 2011, Shaquille O’Neal has maintained his ever-green character off the court with his job as an NBA analyst on TNT and opening his rich stock of life experiences through his podcast. Sure to say we have not heard the last of his witty remarks.

Shalini Ray

297 articles

Shalini is a passionate NBA follower who got hooked to the game thanks to Stephen Curry's sharpshooting show. While indulging in the sport of basketball solely within the confines of the school court, she keeps herself as close as possible to the game through all the latest happenings in the world of NBA.


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