Shaquille O'Neal is one of the biggest stars in the world. Literally and figuratively.

The 7'1 former NBA and LSU star has done well for himself, making more money on an annual basis now than he did during his basketball career.

South Louisiana residents see Shaq around often, as he has many loved ones who reside in and around the Acadiana area. When he's in Lafayette, he often records his podcast in our work building, giving me an opportunity to interview him.

Reportedly worth $400 million, Shaq is a business owner, TV personality, rapper, film producer, television producer, real estate entrepreneur, podcaster, and actor.

His first credited film role was as Neon Boudreaux in the 1994 film Blue Chips.

Shaq went on to play the lead in two studio-produced films, Kazaam and Steel.

Both films lost money, as Shaq then transitioned into more supporting roles when starring in movies.

In a recent interview on the "The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast", Shaq revealed the movie role he regrets turning down.

Released in December of 1999, The Green Mile was a giant box-office success, grossing $286.8 million at the box office on a $60 million budget.

It was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including best picture, as well as best supporting actor for Michael Clarke Duncan for his portrayal of John Coffey, the role Shaq ultimately turned down.

“Michael Clarke Duncan did an excellent job, so I think I made the right decision because he did way better than I could have done,” O’Neal said in the interview. “But I got offered that role.”

Sadly, Duncan passed away at age 54 following a heart attack, a dozen years after his stellar performance in The Green Mile.

Photo by Getty Images for Twentieth Century Fox

Why did Shaq say no to the role?

"I didn’t want to play the down-South, African-American guy during slavery,” he said.

While the film doesn't take place during the American slavery era, it is set in 1935 in Louisiana during the Jim Crow era.

Had he accepted the role, Shaq would've been a co-star in an Oscar-nominated movie that was released around the same time he had his most decorated season.

Then a star with the L.A. Lakers, the film was released during the 1999-2000 season, one that saw Shaq win the NBA All-Star game MVP, league MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an NBA Championship as the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the NBA Finals.

10 Highest Paid Athletes in the World in 2021

20 Pro Athletes From The Lafayette Area

10 Most Expensive Homes for Sale Right Now in Acadiana

Comfort Foods Down South

Get our free mobile app