Pop Culture

Shaquille O'Neal gives the best explanation for refusing the perks of being a celebrity

"That's what we need more of in this world."

shaquille o'neal on the basketball court
Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

Shaq has been known to share his wealth with the average Joe without any expectation, just out of the goodness of his heart. He also has a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude about his own importance compared to other people, which he shared in an interview.

Not only does Shaq give generous tips to McDonald's workers out of appreciation for their service, but he said he can't even bring himself to skip to the front of the line when he knows he could—a fact that always blows the mind of people he goes to restaurants with.

"I know I'm 'the Shaq' and I can eat free, I just can't i can't do it. Because remember, these people right here make this world go around, not me. But it's my job to entertain them, and then when they pay, that's how I get paid. So it's all a certain ecosystem that can never be broken. A lot of people break it…but you got to protect the people that make you who you are."


It's a refreshingly humble attitude from someone who could easily take advantage of his fame, and people in the comments love to see it.

"A true gentleman," wrote one person. "The more I see of him..the more I respect him.. Thank you for being a great person!!"

"Shaq is the kind of man who should be one's role model," shared another.

"'You gotta protect the people who made you who you are' that's why this man is respected by all," offered another.

"This is why Shaq is my fav! He never let the fame kill the goodness in his heart. He stayed pure," wrote another."

Some people shared their own personal encounters with Shaq as further examples that he genuinely is as he describes himself—no entourage, no perks expected or accepted, generous to the people serving him.

"I saw Shaq at a ice cream shop in a Boston suburb and he was alone and didn’t expect any special treatment and was very personable to everyone. His humility was incredible! He’s someone that kids should look up to! He’s a true gentleman!"

"I can personally vouch that Shaq is 100% correct here. I met him at a Subway in Florida. Shaq got in line waited while people was taking pictures of him and I started a conversation with him. He ordered his food and tip both workers $100 each. Very humble guy."

Humility is a quality that people who aren't in the spotlight don't always develop, much less people who are showered with attention and accolades all the time. Many people said Shaq's parents raised him right, but whether it's a result of nurture or nature or both, his attitude is one we can all take inspiration from.


Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."


There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

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TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

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“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

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A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

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Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award $1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

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