Apparently Shaq Fu -- despite a personal life that reads like bad urban fiction -- hasn't given up on his dream of being a top cop somewhere in America. Over the weekend, the New York Times published a fluffy "thirty second" interview with Shaquille O'Neal, in which he said: "I'm going to be running for undersheriff in Lake County, Florida."
This was a very Shaq-ian announcement, mostly because, as our sister paper in Broward/Palm Beach points out, the Lake County undersheriff, or chief deputy, position, is filled by appointment, not election.
Maybe he just meant that he's angling for the position in the sleepy county near his Orlando home. Who knows? Shaq has a mesmerizing effect on police departments. We're pretty sure that if he wants to be undersheriff and the position is filled -- as it is in Lake County -- they'll give him another gig, like under-undersheriff, until the undersheriff is suddenly coerced into taking an early retirement.
If you read our feature -- "Shaqzilla!" -- on the retired basketball superstar's shenanigans involving battles with mistresses and nefarious schemes purportedly hatched with buddies in various police departments where he's worked, you'd understand why we're kind of down on Shaq as Dirty Harry.
Shaq's own personal emails -- monosyllabic beauties filed in court in an explosive local lawsuit -- exposed that the guy was scheming through extramarital dalliances like a taller Tiger Woods. More importantly, he appeared to have used his police connections in frantically trying to dig up dirt on an enemy.
Nobody's perfect. But there has to be a better candidate -- perhaps shorter, sadly, or perhaps less famous and wealthy -- than Shaq for any top police post.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
We'll leave you with the anecdote that was the most popular part of our chronicle of Shaq-as-cop:
In August 2006 in the sticks of Virginia, one pumpkin farmer got well-acquainted with Keystone Shaq's special brand of law enforcement. That's when a cavalcade of police cars screamed onto A.J. Nuckols's farm and disgorged barking cops in SWAT gear, including the tallest man he had ever seen.
Told he was suspected of possession of child porn, Nuckols was tossed against his Ford pickup. The giant officer reached into the truck's gun rack and hoisted the rifle like it was Pablo Escobar's coke spoon, booming victoriously, "We've got a gun!"
The farmer studied the behemoth.
"Are you... Shaquille O'Neal?"
The officer grumbled, "No. My name's Tony."
Nuckols, it turns out, was innocent. Nine days later, the local sheriff, who admitted that O'Neal had accompanied the raid, attributed the blunder to faulty information from an Internet company.
The farmer angrily blames ass-kissing cops eager to give their superstar charge an adventure. "They didn't do any investigation," he says. "It was all a big show."