Shaq, who backed Republican Christie in 2013, backs Democrat

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) New Jersey native and former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has endorsed a Democrat in this year’s contest to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie, whom he supported in 2013.

Democrat Phil Murphy’s campaign says O’Neal backed Murphy on Monday during a fundraiser in Newark.

O’Neal had backed Christie in his 2013 re-election bid, calling the governor a ”great man.” He also appeared in an ad for Christie.

Shaq was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. He was an instant box office draw during his career because of his huge frame and slam dunks, but he also exhibited a playful and engaging personality.

Murphy is a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive. He’s leading Republican hopeful Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (gwah-DAHN’-yoh) in polls ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

Christie is term-limited.