SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - When Shaquille O'Neal enters a room, he's impossible to miss.
"I just want to be the guy that when you see my face or hear my voice you just laugh," he said Wednesday morning.
Before speaking at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Series in Sarasota, he first sat down to speak about his influences.
"My father would always say learn how to be a leader instead of a follower. Figure out what you want to be in life," he said.
Basketball got Shaq into LSU where he immersed himself and learned as much as possible.
"When it came time to maximize my potential and have something to fall back on I just tested the waters in everything I was doing," said Shaq.
After dominating the court, Shaq walked away as one of the greatest players in the NBA.
Retirement never meant being benched. He's dealt in business, real estate, acting and rapping.
He holds a deep respect for law enforcement officers and was sworn in as a reserve officer and a Sheriff's Deputy.
Whatever Shaq sets his mind to he succeeds.
"I think it’s a good message to children, never give up. Just follow your dream no matter what your dreams maybe. You don’t have to have one dream. You can have two, three," he said.
Making sure he's a good role model to kids is key.
"I think I speak their language and I think I understand them, as long as they look up to me and follow me I just want to try and do the right thing as best as I can do," said Shaq.
Shaq lives what he preaches.
While he towers over people at 7'1 his sense of humor and his down to Earth demeanor continues to draw people in.
"I've always been a regular person that listened “to his parents and followed his dreams and somehow became recognized around the world. It doesn't mean I’m better than you or you. I will always remain humble and it’s just the right thing to do. You don’t have to throw stuff in people’s face all the time," he said.
Future Ringling College Library AssociationTown Hall Lecuture Series include:
February 4: James Comey
February 18: Jimmy Wales
March 4: Caroline Kennedy
April 11: Ian Bremmer
For more information visit: http://www.rclassociation.org/