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Shaquille O'Neal's elevator story sparks speculation that Stevie Wonder isn't actually blind

Katherine Sidnell

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Shaquille O'Neal's elevator story sparks speculation that Stevie Wonder isn't actually blind

Featured Image Credit: TNT/Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Shaquille O’Neal's encounter with Stevie Wonder in an elevator has people speculating that the musician might not be blind.

You can listen to his story here:

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The pro-basketball player's bizarre meeting was discussed while co-hosting The NBA on TNT in 2019, with O’Neal joking that he had a Stevie Wonder story that ‘you're not gonna believe’.

According to the sporting star, the pair lived in the same building complex on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, when the chance encounter happened.

Whilst the valets were parking Wonder’s car, the 'Superstition' singer headed towards the lobby where O’Neal also was in the elevator.

Despite not being able to see, Wonder allegedly recognised the NBA player immediately as O'Neal explained.

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“He comes in, says ‘what’s up Shaq.’ Presses the button, it’s a true story, presses the button, gets off on his floor by himself, goes to his room,” he explained.

Adding: “I went and called every person I knew and told the story. They didn’t believe me.”

And viewers took the comments to share their thoughts.

Stevie Wonder lost his sight as a baby. Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Stevie Wonder lost his sight as a baby. Credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
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"I knew he ain't blind!!!" one person wrote, while another said: "He's either not blind or he's daredevil."

While someone else referenced a video of Wonder catching a microphone stand after someone knocked it, adding: "Dude can see."

Another said: "But let me guess...Stevie couldn’t see him."

And one commenter joked: "Shaq is just so huge even Stevie Wonder can see him."

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It’s not the first time the singer has been accused of ‘faking’ his blindness, with fellow NBA star Darryl Dawkins and ESPN’s Bomani Jones also making similar misinformed claims.

However, others were quick to give a possible reason as to why Wonder could identify him.

O'Neal told the story while he was a co-host on TNT. Credit: TNT
O'Neal told the story while he was a co-host on TNT. Credit: TNT

Like many blind people, Wonder has to rely on his other senses – which includes sound.

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Some of those who are blind from birth can teach themselves to navigate the world via echolocation.

For those not in the know, it's when people are able to create mental representations of the world around them based on sound alone.

Some people are even able to use clicks and listen to the reverberations to build a better sense of their surroundings.

One fan even pointed this out in the comments on YouTube, saying that they’d experienced something similar with their family.

They wrote: “I can tell my mom from her breathing. I can sense family members based on presence. Stevie probably felt Godzilla over him and was like ‘Must be shaq’ lol.”

And others agreed, with another user joking: “He didn't need to see to know it was Shaq. I'm sure when he felt the elevator almost fall, he knew, right then and there.”

According to Wonder's official biography, he was born six weeks early with an eye disorder called retinopathy of prematurity (REP), and after his incubator received too much oxygen, it worsened his condition and he lost his eyesight as a result.

Topics: Celebrity, Music, Basketball, NBA, Film and TV

Katherine Sidnell
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