Officer Shaq and Shaq's Retirement

Stan SillimanCorrespondent IIJune 7, 2011

HOLLYWOOD - JULY 11:  NBA player Shaquille O'Neal onstage during the 2007 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre on July 11, 2007 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Shaquille O'Neal has retired and says he might become a commentator on ESPN.

I'd love to see it, truly.

At the same time I'm asking what about his law enforcement career? What about his degree and all the time he spent preparing to serve in this field? Was is all publicity? Will it ever come to fruition?

Can Shaq be a basketball commentator and a sheriff? Will it work?

In this, the week of Shaq's retirement, I'm posting old stories in remembrance of his career.

The below story is from September of 2005.


Lots of folks with Irish surnames have careers in law enforcement. So what’s so surprising if one day there’s an officer Shaquille O’Neal?

Maybe because most policemen are better at dunking donuts than basketballs? Maybe because most policemen aren’t pounding a beat in size 22EEEs? Maybe because most policemen aren’t pulling down $ 25 Million a year at their day job?

In 2004, on nights and weekends, when Shaq wasn’t playing basketball he put a blue uniform and a silver tag that read “Private O’Neal” and was an active officer for the Los Angeles Port Police.

“Please step out of the car, Sir.” Can you imagine a guy turning and doing a double take thinking he’s facing a talking belt buckle? “If you don’t step out of the car, right now, I will reach in and pull you through your window… and hold you up at a height where breathing will commence to be difficult.”

When Shaq joined the Miami Heat, he switched jobs. Not on the court but down at the court Shaq was recently sworn in as a U.S. deputy marshal.  He’s on a Department of Justice task force that tracks sexual predators who target children on the Internet. He wants to be an undercover officer. 

Undercover cop? What’s wrong with this picture? We don’t know of any covers Shaq could get under. A shaggy beard and some weird disguise isn’t going to hide 7’1" of Shaq. “I’m here to buy some… uh… merchandise. Can you hurry?”

“Wait a moment. Aren’t you… uh… uh… that guy? Don’t tell me. Don’t you play… didn’t I read you wanted to be a cop? Can you put me down? Don’t hit me with those three rings on your fingers. Don’t throw me…”

Miami Beach Police Chief Don De Lucca admits Shaq won’t be a buyer but might be great on surveillance. Yeah, like if the perp is trying to hide in a parade.

It’s not like O’Neal got the law enforcement bug from being in Hollywood and watching TV cop shows. He had two uncles on the force and has been interested in police work since he was a teenager.

He’s been through 400 hours of training and instruction and hopes some day to be a sheriff or police chief in either Orlando or Miami. 

Everyone seems to worry that if Shaq has to fire his weapon from farther than point blank, or from maybe as far as a free throw line to the basket, innocent bystanders may be in jeopardy.

This we don’t foresee. Others are worried, that former rapper Shaq, when making an arrest might get drawn into a rap off with potential perps. Again, we say not a problem, because most perps, even the rapping ones, even the stupidest rapping perps don’t want to hear Shaq rap. 

We applaud Shaq and hope that after basketball retirement he reaches his law enforcement goals. We see him getting the Irish vote.

We’d love to see Shaq as Miami Police Chief addressing a cadre of reporters retelling how they tracked Kobe and O.J. down. That would be pure television.