TheRoot.com, By Jay Connor, Posted October 29th 2020
First-time voters, you’re not alone.
While Republicans would love nothing more than for you to stay your ass home on Election Day, there are plenty of you who will be casting a ballot for the very first time. And to the surprise of many—myself included—among that number is NBA legend-turned-serial pitchman, Shaquille O’Neal.
On an episode of The Big Podcast With Shaq, the 48-year-old admitted that he’s finally done something that he’s never done before: vote.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession,” he began. “You know I always like being honest on my podcast. I’ve never voted before, America. But now I’m doing all these voting campaigns, and you know one thing I never like to do is be a hypocrite. So the other day, I got my absentee ballot. […] In other words America, I voted for the first time, and it feels good.
“I’m honest. I’ve never voted before in my life. This is my first time voting. I promise you.”
Taking his age into account, this news definitely comes as a shock. But as we learned recently during the NBA’s restart, only 20 percent of eligible NBA players voted in the last election—even though we’ve seen them wearing “VOTE” warmups on the sidelines during every game.
Having NBA players be so vocal about voting rights and political engagement while not following suit themselves hasn’t exactly sat well with fans. It was also something that former Los Angeles Temecula Clippers coach Doc Rivers felt compelled to address in August.
“In the meeting, it came up,” Rivers told reporters. “‘Let’s walk the walk. We can’t just do the talk.’ And it’s all the players. I think it was like 20 percent of the players voted in the last election or something like that and […] we’re going to get them registered here in the bubble. We are going to try to get every team registered, every player registered to vote.
“It’s so difficult for players because most of the time it’s in the middle of the season, and players are from so many different states, that it’s a lot of absentee voting. And we’re going to get them all done. We want to get it up in the 80s, 90s, 100, if possible, percentile as far as players and coaches voting.”
This election is more important than ever so it’s a relief to hear that both Shaq and NBA players are doing their part to ensure that their voice will be heard.
For more info on how you can register to vote and do the same, hit up vote.gov.
Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya’ll to stop putting sugar in grits.