Host: “What’s going on with the flat Earth thing? Are you just messing with everybody with that?”
O’Neal: “No, the Earth is flat. Would you like to hear my theory?”
Host: “Yeah, tell me about it.”
O’Neal: “The first part of the theory is, I’m joking, you idiots. That’s the first part of the theory.
“The second part is, I said jokingly that when I’m in my bus and I drive from Florida to California, which I do every summer, it seems to be flat. When I’m in my plane, and we’re getting ready to land, and I open up the window, and I’m looking at all the land that we’re flying over, it seems to be flat.”
Good to know that Shaq was just throwing a curveball, as it were, at everyone. Here is what he had said on his own podcast:
“The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yeah, it is. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind: what you read, what you see and what you hear. In school, first thing they teach us is, ‘Oh, Columbus discovered America,’ but when he got there, there were some fair-skinned people with the long hair smoking on the peace pipes. So, what does that tell you? Columbus didn’t discover America.“So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me.”
When told by his podcast co-host that those remarks were the “dumbest thing” he’d ever said, O’Neal replied, “I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings?
“So you mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat. The world is flat.”
Still to arrive — if ever — is confirmation that Kyrie Irving was just joking. The Cavaliers’ guard got this whole discussion off to its start last month, when he said, (ahem) flatly, “The Earth is flat.”
Speaking on a podcast with Cleveland teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye (what, you don’t have a podcast?), Irving offered these additional thoughts:
“All these things that they keep giving to us, all this information, I’m just saying that these things that used to put me in fear, it makes you not want to question it naturally, because of how much information you actually can figure out and how much information there actually is out there. It’s crazy.“Anything that you have a particular question on, ‘Okay, is the Earth flat or round?’ I think you need to do research on it. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
Irving’s general point, that people should question information rather than blindly assume that if everyone else believes it, it must be true, is well-taken (assuming that was his point). In fact, he may well have been going the flat-Earth route to make an elaborate point about taking things at face value.
Or, Irving may actually think the Earth is flat. Thank goodness we now know that O’Neal does not, as he went on to say Thursday, “This world we live in, people take things too seriously, but I’m going to give the people answers to my test.”
“You either laugh or you don’t laugh, but don’t take me seriously,” O’Neal added. “When I want you to take me seriously, you will know by the tone of my voice that I’m being serious.”