One of the most famous NBA superstars of all time just came out against vaccine mandates.
During Thursday’s episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” Shaquille O’Neal came out firmly against mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
He prefaced his comments by saying, “I’m going to probably get in trouble for this” and encouraging his listeners to “be safe” and “take care of your family.”
“But it’s still some people that don’t want to take it, and you should not be forced to take something that you don’t want,” O’Neal said.
His co-host on the podcast — “Entertainment Tonight” host and former CNN correspondent Nischelle Turner — disagreed with him.
“I don’t think people are being forced to take — well, there are some. There are, I mean, listen, we have a mandate at CBS,” Turner said.
“That’s forced,” O’Neal adamantly replied.
Turner repeatedly attempted to explain why she did not believe a private company’s decision to issue a mandate qualified as “forced,” but the Hall of Famer was not having any of it.
O’Neal cut her off several times, saying over and over again, “That’s forced.”
“It is forced. Because if the man don’t take it, the man gonna get fired,” he said.
The discussion can be heard below starting around the 43:10 mark:
Like many Americans opposed to mandates, O’Neal himself is vaccinated.
In fact, the legendary center had previously criticized Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving for refusing to take the vaccine.
“The day I decided it wasn’t all about me and it’s about us is the day I started winning and really started dominating,” O’Neal said, according to Fox News.
“I understand the issues and all that. But I took the vaccine because I’m not trying to get my mother sick, or my sister or my brother or people around me.”
“I know people say, ‘The vaccine came too fast, and is it healthy?’ To each his own. But sometimes you have to think about the overall picture, and you have to think about more than yourself.”
All of that being said, Shaq does not believe that the solution to such a problem is firing people who refuse to be vaccinated.
Nevertheless, O’Neal can now be considered an “anti-vaxxer” under the current Merriam-Webster definition of the term.
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