Thanks to the rise of “alternative facts” and fake news, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not someone is actually stupid, if they’re feigning stupidity for political gain, or if they’re just joking around. That third option is usually the most complicated, since making a joke usually involves not explaining that you’re making a joke, and it’s especially complicated when—for example—you’re more famous for your basketball prowess than for your dry sense of humor. That brings us Shaquille O’Neal, who declared earlier this week on his podcast that he believes the Earth is flat. He said he drives and flies from coast to coast and everything looks flat, so therefore the world must actually be flat.
This probably would’ve gone unnoticed if not for a recent controversy where three other basketball players also mentioned that they think the Earth is flat, which suggested that NBA players all like to hang out, eat PB&J sandwiches, and talk about how scientists are all wrong about some pretty basic stuff. Thankfully, though, we can all breathe a rational sigh of relief, because O’Neal has revealed on a separate podcast (via Uproxx) that he was just joking when he said the Earth is flat.
He also went a little more in depth about how people shouldn’t take him so seriously:
I said jokingly that when I’m in my bus and I drive from Florida to California—which I do every summer—it seems to be flat. When I’m in my plane, and we’re getting ready to land, and I open up the window, and I’m looking at all the land that we’re flying over, it seems to be flat. But, this world we live in, people take things too seriously. But I’m going to give the people answers to my test. Knowing that I’m a funny guy, if something seems controversial or boom, boom, boom, you’ve got to add my funny points on, right? So now, once you add my funny points on, that should eradicate and get rid of all your negative thoughts, right? That’s what you should do when you hear a Shaquille O’Neal statement. OK? You should know that he has funny points right over here, and what did he say? The guy had Boom, boom, boom, add the funny points, you either laugh or you don’t laugh, but don’t take me seriously. When I want you to take me seriously, you will know by the tone of my voice that I’m being serious.
Basically, O’Neal is saying that he has a stock number of funny points that should be applied to everything he says, and so whenever he does something weird or controversial, we should take his funny points into account before reacting. However, as he says in the clip—which you can hear above—the one time he’s not joking is when he’s arguing with Charles Barkley on TNT. That’s when he’s “mad” and “serious.” Everything else is probably a joke, though.