If you were ever hoping to see Shaquille O’Neal grace the Dancing With the Stars ballroom, don’t hold your breath! The NBA legend has no intention of ever competing on the long-running ABC series.
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“I can’t do it, yeah. I wouldn’t do it now,” the 48-year-old told Us Weekly exclusively on Thursday, October 8, while promoting American Express’ Business Class LIVE: Summit for Success. “I like being the innovator. If it was season 1, I would do it. But I can’t do it in season 2 [or after].”
DWTS has seen many athletes compete on the show over the course of its 29-season run, including season 3 champion Emmitt Smith and season 4 winner Apolo Anton Ohno. This year, former NBA player Charles Oakley competed alongside pro dancer Emma Slater.
Oakley, 56, and Slater, 31, were the first pair to be eliminated this season. Nonetheless, O’Neal had nothing but praise for Oakley’s efforts.
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“I thought his feet work was pretty nice,” he said. “He looked really good at something that they’d been wanting me to do for a while, but I don’t have enough discipline and courage to do it.”
The former Los Angeles Lakers star added, “[Charles] looks really good. Now, he was always a guy that stayed in shape and it was really good and his outfit and his hips are still working really good.”
Last month, O’Neal threw his support behind Oakley and Slater by asking his Instagram followers to vote for the pair. “You kno who to vote for @therealoak34 had some great feetwork,” he wrote via Instagram on September 22, to which Slater responded via Twitter, “I’m about to faint over here @SHAQ just posted for @CharlesOakley34 on #DWTS Wow! Thank you Shaq!”
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Though O’Neal has declared that he will never join DWTS, he has shown off his dance skills in the past. The New Jersey native posted a video of himself to Instagram in 2016 dancing to Kanye West’s “Fade” while in his undergarments.
Instead of DWTS, O’Neal’s mind has been focused on American Express’ Business Class LIVE: Summit for Success, which he’s set to participate in on October 20. In this virtual event, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn about business and hear the retired athlete speak about his own growth in that field.
“Myself and American Express, we want to continue to support small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the country,” O’Neal told Us. “A lot of African American people own small businesses, and because of what’s going on [with COVID-19], a lot of people are losing everything. So, we just wanna show our support.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi