Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, the former Orlando Magic superstar center who lives in the Windermere area, has endorsed Orlando Police Chief John Mina in the race for Orange County sheriff.

O’Neal, an analyst on “NBA on TNT,” called Mina the “person best qualified to be our next sheriff,” in a video released Monday by Mina’s sheriff campaign. O’Neal also has dabbled in law enforcement himself, having gone through the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy, and been sworn in as a reserve officer in Miami Beach, and participated in several publicity efforts for law enforcement.

“I know John Mina personally,” O’Neal said in a video recorded on the set of “NBA on TNT.” “He has proven himself in times of crisis. He has shown he can keep our community safe.”

O’Neal said Mina is committed to interacting with Orange County residents in an effort to build trust between the community and law enforcement.

Mina faces retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Jose “Joe” Lopez in the 2018 election.

Mina called O’Neal’s endorsement a “tremendous honor.”

“O’Neal may be recognized as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but I know him as a longtime champion of the law enforcement community,” Mina stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “I look forward to serving O’Neal – and all the residents of Orange County – as the next sheriff of Orange County.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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