As Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein pushes for a recount of the U.S. election, a former NBA great is defending the president-elect. Shaquille O’Neal recently weighed in on the refusal of some to accept a Donald Trump presidency.
O’Neal disagrees with Stein’s efforts, which have seen the candidate raise millions of dollars for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in all three states to swing the election in his favor, and O’Neal says the president-elect won the race “fair and square.”
“We have a process that’s been going on forever,” O’Neal told The Hill Wednesday. “And whoever wins, you just hope he does what he says he’s going to do. You know, candidate Trump promised a lot of people a lot of things.”
“Now that he’s president-elect, you just hope that he can make the world a better place. He won fair and square. We have to give him a chance,” O’Neal said. “There’s no need talking about recounts and this and that.”
O’Neal’s comments might not come as a surprise, considering he’s called Trump a “friend” in the past.
Charles Barkley, who is part of TNT’s “Inside The NBA” with O’Neal, has echoed similar sentiments regarding the election. Barkley was critical of Trump throughout the campaign, but he was quick to concede defeat when Clinton lost.
“I was in shock, I’m not gonna lie. I was totally surprised at the election results. That being said, we’ve got to move on,” Barkley said two days after the election. “I was disappointed because my candidate didn’t win, number one. But like I said, it’s over now. He’s going to be the president of the United States. We’ve got to respect the office, and we have to give him a chance. That’s the bottom line.”
Current members of NBA teams have not been publicly supportive of Trump, either during the campaign or since the election. NBA personnel donated more than $1 million to Clinton’s campaign, and there’s no evidence that any player or coach monetarily supported Trump.
After the election, three of the league’s top coaches, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and Stan Van Gundy, expressed their disappointment in Trump’s victory.