West Torrance High School

Opinion: Shaquille O’Neal backs up Kyrie Irving’s ‘Flat-Earth Theory’

Kyrie Irving made everyone facepalm themselves by saying that he believed that the Earth is flat. Just when we thought this whole situation couldn’t get any worse, Hall of Fame retired NBA big man, Shaquille O’Neal, subscribed to the same theory.

Business Insider reported that on his podcast, O’Neal said, “there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see, and what you hear.” He went further to cite his “evidence” as he said, “So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this s— 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?”

Now, O’Neal’s claims are beyond ludicrous, mostly because it seems that O’Neal is confusing staying on the surface of the Earth with Earth being flat. Of course it doesn’t feel like he’s going around the curved spherical shape of the Earth when he “drive[s] from Florida to California”, and that’s only because the Earth is so big. It’s not like walking on a 15-foot curved bridge over a pond at the local park in which you can examine the curvature of an object in its entirety, the Earth is too big for that. Being so miniature in comparison to the actual size of the Earth, of course people won’t be able to examine our planet’s curvature, all 24,901 miles of its circumference. Since we are so small, from our perspective, the Earth will feel flat.

What we can do, however, is go out in space and take pictures, and luckily enough, we have astronauts for that. The countless amount of photographic evidence is a testament to the Earth being a sphere. Beyond that, O’Neal even went into how he doesn’t believe in gravity, and seeing how he played professional basketball, an activity entirely dependent on gravity itself, makes no sense.

In the end, my word can only go so far. Instead, take the word of Christopher Simpson, a physics teacher. Better known as Mr. Simpson on the campus of West Torrance High School, he disagreed with O’Neal’s claim of a flat Earth and said, “My experiences lead me to the conclusion that the Earth is a sphere or near enough to a sphere for that to be a good approximation.”

He said further, “What accounts for day and night? What accounts for seasonal changes in temperature? To me it’s got to be the rotation or the revolution of the Earth around the sun. Those theories are all remarkably consistent with what we actually do observe to be the phases of the moon [and] the cyclical 24 hours.”

Simpson identified how the natural periods we observe in day-to-day life is the product of the circular motion and rotational motion of a moving sphere, Earth, around the sun.

On the other hand, Simpson ended on a point regarding perspective.

He said, “If you haven’t taken the chance to look at [the situation] and observe [the situation], if you haven’t gone out of your way to think about the situation, then you’re judging the case on a limited amount of experience and a limited range of experience.”

Offering an opinion on a subject and making sure you’re well-versed with the subject matter is something that’s needed, prior to voicing a potentially rash and uneducated opinion.