NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal Slams Vaccine Mandates, Calls Them ‘Forced’

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“Kazaam” actor and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal found a way to be just as entertaining off the court as he was for the Lakers, Heat or any of the franchises that welcomed Big Diesel.

The appeal of O’Neal made the basketball icon an equally notable personality. A penchant for honesty also never hurt Shaq — setting up the perfect alley-oop on the topic of COVID vaccine mandates.

Already getting a W for ripping disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons, O’Neal also got real by the vax rulings; fearlessly calling them “forced.”

On an episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” Shaq discussed the issue with co-host Nischelle Turner, and he played strong defense for unvaxxed Americans.


“Look, I encourage everybody to be safe and take care of their family, I do,” Shaq said. “But there’s still some people that don’t wanna take it. And you shouldn’t have to be forced to take something you don’t want.”

Turner tried to answer back by addressing jurisdiction as a form of justification.

“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.”

“That’s forced,” responded Diesel.

As relayed by Fox News‘ Ryan Gaydos, O’Neal wasn’t shy to admit that he’d be willing to appeal to the right rules to avoid getting in any foul trouble; yet in the end, he’ll only play for the right team.

“I’m with you on the rules because I’m a rules guy,” O’Neal admitted. “But I do feel sympathetic towards people who have to make that kind of decision.”

“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,” Shaq added.

“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.”

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.


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  1. “Shaq” has carved out a unique niche as a mega-jock/pitchman/commenter … IMO, more so than Barkley who would be the natural comparison. Maybe its the “Jolly Giant thingy”. Shaq seems to have bridged the gap from “a really big black ex-super jock” to simply the iconic “Shaq”.

  2. It’s a day late and a dollar short to say something now after all that happened, but okay. Would have been nice a year ago. I think the reason some public figures don’t say anything now is because they immediately took it obediently without question, went around barking at others to do it, and now that the truth of the data is slowly being acknowledged by mainstream media they don’t want to look like morons. There’s going to be a lot of crow eating the next couple years.

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