As the NBA went all-out in messaging for social justice during its reboot this year, an interesting truth eventually emerged.
Very few NBA players vote. By one estimate, only 20 percent of players voted in the 2016 presidential election, compared to a 55.5 percent overall voter turnout.
Given how much has been made about promoting voting rights — the NBA had every player in the conference finals wear a “VOTE” shirt in warm-ups — it’s no wonder the NBPA pushed to get as many as 90 percent of the players registered to vote, many of them first-timers.
As it turns out, a past NBA great is voting for the first time in this year’s election, as well.
Shaq: ‘I’ve never voted before in my life’
During an episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” published Wednesday, O’Neal told his co-hosts that he had just sent in an absentee ballot for the 2020 election. He said he had never done so before:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession. 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.”
When prodded by his co-hosts about the revelation, O’Neal mentioned his confusion with the electoral college and specifically mentioned the 2016 presidential election in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.
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