For a player the magnitude of Shaquille O'Neal, the power to meet who he wants is quite large. Shaq is one of the most famous players in history and has possibly transcended basketball as an iconic cultural figure. But there was one person he couldn't leverage his power to meet with; former US President Barack Obama.
In a recent appearance on Complex's Sneaker Shopping, Shaquille O'Neal revealed the nature of his interaction with former President Barack Obama. Shaq told the story of trying to gift him his shoe in person, but not being able to because of security reasons that were present.
But Shaq actually tried to meet Obama in Washington, going to the White House and saying that he would like an audience with Obama. He got turned down by the security, but received a phone call, turning out to be Obama himself. When Shaq wondered how Obama got his number, the former president had a hilarious response.
“I was in the area. I was there. What happened was I was there but I didn’t have clearance. And I didn’t want to use my powers. Because I wanted to hand-deliver him the shoe. I met him but I didn’t meet him. One time I was in DC and I tried to flex my powers. Went to the gate. ‘Hey, tell Obama Shaq is here. I showed them my police badge. They said ‘Shaq we love you’ but all this. So as I’m walking away, I get a phone call from a strange number. I say ‘hello’? It’s the president. I said ‘Mr. Obama, how’d you get my number?’. He said ‘Come on, Shaq, I’m the President’."
"... I finally met him. He invited me to this thing he did at the White House. But I was 0-2 in just trying to use my powers to meet him."
Shaq clearly had the attention of the former president. And while he did get to meet him eventually, it wasn't because of the power or influence he was able to exercise. Regardless, it was a really funny story that Shaq told the world.
Now that Obama is no longer US President, he will probably be able to interact with Shaq with greater ease. With the constant security presence now lessened, Shaq could get Obama to appear on Inside The NBA on TNT, if that is something Obama would be interested in.