Shaquille O'Neal Announces He's Team Chris Christie for Governor

The basketball great has high praise for Christie's support for inner cities and education.

Posted: 10/28/2013 10:35 AM EDT

Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal has thrown his support behind incumbent Chris Christie in the New Jersey gubernatorial race.

“I don’t support many politicians, but Chris Christie is different,” O'Neal, who was born in Newark, said in a 30-second video.

According to O'Neal, who's been named a youth ambassador for the state's inner cities, the pair have teamed up on projects to bring jobs to cities and a program "to help kids in tough neighborhoods get ahead." He also praised Christie for providing more education funding than previous governors and his support for school choice. 

"He’s a good man. Excuse me, he’s a great man," O'Neal said. "Please join me in supporting Chris Christie – the Governor.”

Christie is expected to easily best his Democratic opponent state Sen. Barbara Buono, for whom actor Kerry Washington has campaigned.

But with an eye to the 2016 presidential race, the governor, who has the distinction of being a relatively popular Republican leading a liberal state, also wants to do well with minority voters. According to NJ.com, 30 percent of likely African-American voters support Christie. That's a significant boost compared to the 9 percent he received during his 2009 race against then-incumbent Democrat governor Jon Corzine.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Chris Christie for Governor)

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