“China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.”
There has never been a more inviting time in the NBA to be a flat Earth conspiracist. A month after Kyrie Irving stirred everyone up by declaring that the Earth is flat, Shaquille O’Neal did the same thing on the latest episode of The Big Podcast With Shaq.
The topic came up when O’Neal was asked about Irving’s comments by his cohosts, who told him several times the the world was, in fact, round, even as O’Neal disagreed. Here’s what O’Neal said.
“It’s true. 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 shit is flat to me. I’m just saying, I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. 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? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.”
You can hear O’Neal start to talk about his beliefs at about the 9:30 mark on the podcast.
One underlying theme of Flat Earthers is that you shouldn’t believe everything you’re taught, which is a perfectly valid belief system. A good example is the fact O’Neal brought up — that Columbus discovered America, despite native Americans settling here centuries before. Columbus wasn’t even the first European to find the Americas!
However, there’s a difference between commonly known false facts and denying something that is backed by centuries of scientific evidence. Both O’Neal and Irving are millionaires who could afford a trip on the upcoming Virgin Galactic, which will soon provide commercial low altitude spaceflight, and literally see the curvature of the Earth. Obviously, that’s an elaborate and entirely unnecessary way to prove we live on a globe, but it’s an option both O’Neal and Irving could take if they really wanted to.
Maybe they don’t really believe the Earth is flat — who knows. There are more scientifically accurate ways to get across the “don’t trust everything you’re told” motto, though, if that’s all they’re trying to do here.