Here's Why Police Officer Shaquille O'Neal Pretended To Be A Child Online

Ernesto Cova
Shaquille O'Neal
Shutterstock | 3586184

There's probably not a single person on Earth who's not familiar with Shaquille O'Neal in one way or the other. Besides being one of the greatest basketball players in history, he's also quite known as a pop-culture icon.

Shaq has starred in thousands of ads, has taken his talents to Hollywood and the small screen, and is a successful business owner, a well-known DJ, a former hip-hop artist, and even a police officer.

Yeah, you read that right.

Shaq Was Committed

As a matter of fact, Shaq was so committed to law enforcement that he got an actual job as a police officer when he joined the Miami Heat nearly two decades ago.

More than that, he used to pose as a child online to try and catch predators.

"We want to get these predators off-line," O'Neal told Good Morning America in 2005, per ABC. "It's very disturbing to see that anyone would want to harm a child especially in a sexual manner, very, very disturbing. I don't like to give away my secrets, but I just say 'hi,'" O'Neal added. "They ask how old I am and they get right into it. Ninety-eight percent of it's sexual right away. Once they want to meet in a certain location, we'll be there."

Children Need To Be Careful

Shaq also claimed that he's often quite vocal with his children and often advises other kids as well, letting them know that they need to be careful with their online conversations and not take any unnecessary risks:

"What I tell the children is just simple things," O'Neal said. "Don't give out personal information online. If you're having a conversation with someone and they start to get nasty, just sign off. Just be smart and have a lot of common sense."

Shaq Earned His Badge

Shaquille O'Neal
Shutterstock | 3586184

While some may think this is just an act or one of Shaq's many antics, he's actually been quite committed to law enforcement for years now.

He makes $1 a year for his job as a police officer, but that doesn't mean he's not constantly reaching out and trying to help in any way possible.

"I've known a lot of police officers and in my 40 years in the business, and I think I'm pretty hard to fool," Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown said. "There is absolutely nothing phony, fake about Shaquille O'Neal and his desire to help kids and to be a viable part of law enforcement."

A Larger-Than-Life Man

Shaq made dozens of millions during his playing days, not to mention his nearly-endless sponsors and ads. Nonetheless, when asked about why he decided to enroll at the police academy, he claimed it was actually a bit of a calling:

"Basketball has to end," Shaq said. "Basketball doesn't last forever. Law enforcement lasts forever. It's something I want to do."

Shaq won four NBA championships, one MVP, three Finals MVPs, two scoring titles, played in 15 All-Star games, and achieved many more impressive accolades on the hardwood. Still, it seems like his biggest price was just a police officer badge.