NBA legend and basketball analyst Shaquille O’Neal has joined the law enforcement family in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, as a special reserve deputy.
O’Neil, 48, who has been deputized by other sheriffs across the country, was honored by the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office made the surprise announcement on Facebook.
“While Sheriff Becket Breaux was out of the office today at an annual training, we were honored to have a very special guest at the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office,” the office wrote.
“This afternoon, Mr. Shaquille O’Neal was appointed as a St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office Special Reserve Deputy.”
“Thank you for your kindness, support, and encouragement you provided to the Deputies, it was very much appreciated,” the agency added.
“Welcome to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office Team!”
O’Neil, at more than seven feet tall, towered above the other deputies in an image shared by the agency.
Wearing a shirt representing his alma mater, Louisiana State University, O’Neil appeared rather pleased.
While the NBA at the conclusion of the 2020 season saw the league pivot to embracing leftist politics and its star player, LeBron James, holding what some viewed as an anti-law enforcement sentiment, O’Neil seemed more than reluctant to embrace those politics from behind his anchor desk at TNT.
O’Neil actually took flak last month when he was involved in a discussion with fellow TNT analyst Charles Barkley about the grand jury decision in Louisville, Kentucky, not to charge any officers with the death of Breonna Taylor.
Barkley stated, “I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop.”
O’Neil, while not as flamboyant as Barkley, responded with a defense of due process.
“When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred,” the “Inside the NBA” co-host said, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
The former NBA big man added, “When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
Of course, as an ally for police officers and as an auxiliary sheriff’s deputy in Florida and a deputy in Georgia at the time of that conversation, O’Neil likely held a different perspective of actions sometimes taken by law enforcement officers than others in and around the league.
And apparently he is revered by police officers.
He continues to pile up the accolades.
The four-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP continues to add hardware to his collection, nearly a decade removed from the game of basketball.
Just last year, he was made an auxiliary deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
Basketball legend @SHAQ goes by many nicknames, and now added to that list is Deputy Shaq. The big man now works as an auxillary deputy with the #BSO. Sheriff Tony sat down with Shaq and the two talked about the different ways law enforcement works to keep communities safe. pic.twitter.com/H8j2lwUm0B
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) March 15, 2019
Now, the former all-star and NBA champion has yet another badge to go along with all those trophies.
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