Shaquille O’Neal opens up about what kept him from voting before this year. “I don’t have any excuses.”
Voting matters and it is crucial to promoting change in the society that a person lives. For America, this year’s election quite literally could be the difference between life or death for some people. And because of that, among several other reasons, the country has already broken early voting records. NPR’s Babara Sprunt writes that Americans have already cast a record-breaking 66 million early ballots, putting the election on track for historic levels of voter turnout.
This time around $19 million more pre-election voters were recorded in comparison to the 2016 election. Millions are taking to the polls or sending in their mail-in ballots, including O’Neal who says he’d never voted until recently completing an absentee ballot for the presidential election on Nov. 3. “I don’t have any excuses, but I didn’t have time,” O’Neal told USA TODAY Sports. “That’s a bad excuse. My mom was disappointed. Uncle Jerome was disappointed. But this year, I made time.”
The former NBA player has become so motivated about educating others about voting that he participated in a virtual rally to support Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden, Mark Medina of USA TODAY sports writes. O’Neal didn’t give out too many details but he did say that the event was hosted by comedian Tiffany Haddish and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges and catered to the alumni of HBCUs. In addition, he also tag-teamed with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum on a voting initiative called “MyStartingFiveChallenge” in which a person would have to nominate five people to register to vote by typing “#MyStartingFive” on social media platforms.
“I don’t like being a hypocrite if I’m asking everybody to vote and enact change,” O’Neal said. “I can’t ask people to vote if I don’t vote.”