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Shaquille O'Neal addressed Sarasota college as one of five speakers

Shaq is the first of five speakers in the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, actor, rapper, reality TV star and TNT “Inside the NBA” basketball analyst Shaquille O’Neal will speak twice Wednesday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

O’Neal will speak first at 10:30 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m.

"The Big Diesel" spoke with members of the media on Wednesday morning. He provided the following advice for children.

"Never give up and follow your dream, no matter what your dream may be," O'Neal said. "You don't have to have one dream. You could have two. You could have three. You could have 10."

O'Neal also answered a question on how certain NBA players have been politically outspoken.

“I believe I’ve been the guy that has always been able to understand both sides," O'Neal said. "For example, my father was a military man. You did anything to that flag, you’re in trouble. Period.

"I understand how everybody’s sentiment of what they feel the flag. I just feel that sometimes you have to communicate that way in a respectful way, and you just have to do it in a timely manner, but I’ve never been one to get involved in politics. I don’t do stuff because other people [are] doing it. It’s all about respect. Again, my father was a military man. If you messed with the flag, he’s not hearing nothing and he will fight you. I think that’s how most people are.”

LIVE NOW | Shaquille O'Neal chats with media members ahead of speaking later today at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series. on.wtsp.com/2swxStc

Full video of Shaquille's interview: 

Online sales closed to see O'Neal 48 hours before Wednesday's lectures.

“I think in this world we live in, people have [forgotten] the word ‘respect,’” O’Neal said. “Just because he has an opinion and I have an opinion, [doesn’t] mean we have to fight about it.

“I’m 47 years old, so you’re not going to change my opinion on most things.”

The Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series also features former FBI director James Comey on Feb. 4, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales on Feb. 18, Caroline Kennedy on March 4 and political scientist Ian Bremmer on April 11.

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