Shaquille O’Neal decided over a decade ago that he would join TNT as an analyst. He also had a major offer from ESPN at the time, but the Hall of Famer says there is one main reason he chose TNT — they didn’t need him.
During an appearance the “Marchand and Ourand” sports media podcast this week, Shaq was asked how he decided to work for TNT in 2011 over ESPN. He said he met with David Levy, the former president of TNT parent company Turner, and felt more comfortable with his pitch than ESPN’s after Levy explained that O’Neal would not have to carry any show with TNT.
“Mr. Levy came to my house and he said, ‘We don’t need you, but we would like to have you,'” Shaq recalled. “ESPN was saying we need you. So, I was thinking if I have a bad day at Turner, I’m gonna be OK. But if I have a bad day at ESPN, it can only get worse.”
That wasn’t the only reason. Shaq said working for Turner allowed him to be close to his family in Orlando. He has also always had tremendous respect for Ernie Johnson.
“Listen, I have a different type of love for Ernie Johnson,” Shaq said. “Ernie Johnson was a guy that I used to watch on TV. He actually came to my house when I was 17 years old to interview me. I love his voice. I love how he treats people.
“I’m not as good as Ernie. So, me being by myself, I’m gonna have to carry. I don’t think my ADHD would allow me to carry a show by myself. Being a teammate on a great team I think has done well for us. … Just being one of the guys is something I enjoy, rather than trying to be the guy. I could never do what Ernie does.”
While he did not go into specifics, it sounds like ESPN pitched Shaq on the idea of being the center of its NBA coverage. He felt more comfortable joining Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. It goes without saying that the decision worked out, as “Inside the NBA” has won numerous Emmy Awards and is one of the best sports studio shows ever.
We don’t know whom Shaq would be working alongside right now if he took the ESPN job. What we do know is that there’s no way he would have the same chemistry with that person that he has with Barkley.
Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Shaquille O’Neal revealed this week that he turned down a famous movie role.
Shaq was a guest on the “Marchand and Ourand” sports media podcast episode published on Wednesday.
Shaq talked about some of the things he did off the court during his NBA career, including acting and making music. He was asked about movie roles he turned down and shared that he had the opportunity to portray the John Coffey character in “The Green Mile.”
“Green Mile. That was my role, in Green Mile. I turned it down,” Shaq said.
He shared why he turned down the role and also acknowledged it was probably a good thing he turned it down since the late Michael Clarke Duncan did such a good job in the role.
“I didn’t want to play the down-South African American guy during slavery. I didn’t want to play that role,” Shaq said. “But the guy who played it, Michael Clarke Duncan, did an excellent job. I think I made the right decision because he did way better than I could have done, but I got offered that role.”
Clarke Duncan received a nomination at the 2000 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Coffee (Michael Caine in “The Cider House Rules” won it). “The Green Mile” also was nominated for Best Picture that year (“American Beauty” won it).
Like Shaq said, it’s probably best for all parties that he turned down the role since Clarke Duncan did so well. Plus, Shaq will always have his portrayal of Neon Boudeaux in “Blue Chips” to fall back on. He was big-time in that movie.
H/T NY Post
Photo: May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Shaquille O’Neal prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Shaquille O’Neal spent 19 years playing in the NBA and has since gone on to have a successful career as a sports analyst and businessman. He has amassed a net worth in excess of $400 million and despite that, has remained remarkably humble.
In addition to his generational wealth, Shaq has established an impressive work ethic. Eventually, he’d like to hand both traits down to his children, with an emphasis more on the latter than the former.
O’Neal recently told the Earn Your Leisure podcast that’s a message he regularly relays to his kids.
“My kids are older now. They kinda upset with me. Not really upset, but they don’t understand,” Shaq said. “I tell them all the time. We ain’t rich. I’m rich.”
To some, that message may seem a bit harsh. But O’Neal is a father first and a friend second. He wants his children to learn the way of the world and not get lazy knowing they can fall back on his wealth.
“You gotta have bachelor’s or master’s [degrees] and then if you want me to invest in one of your companies, you’re going to have to present it, boom boom boom, bring it to me,” he said. “I’ll let you know, I’m not giving you nothing.”
Although Shaq says his children don’t entirely understand the lesson he’s trying to teach them just yet, he finds solace in knowing they each have an entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, he says, they’ll “figure it out.”
“There’s one rule: education. I don’t care if you play basketball. I don’t care about none of that,” Shaq said, via the New York Post. “Listen, I got six kids. I would like a doctor, somebody to own a hedge fund, a pharmacist, a lawyer, someone that owns multiple businesses, someone to take over my business. But I tell them I’m not going to hand it to you. You gotta earn it.
“I came from nothing. But, just because I made it doesn’t mean I’m bigger than you, smarter than you — just because I have more money doesn’t mean I’m better than you. I’ve never been that way and I never will be that way.”
Shaquille O’Neal lives in Las Vegas part of the time and thinks the city should have an NBA team.
O’Neal was interviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes regarding the Big Fella’s “The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation.” In the interview, they talked about Las Vegas possibly getting an NBA team. O’Neal seemed to hint one was coming.
“Las Vegas has grown a lot, and there is a lot of want for an NBA team,” O’Neal said via Katsilometes. “I don’t want to go on the record too far, but I’m leaning toward most definitely.”
O’Neal believes that Las Vegas can sustain an NBA team and hopes they get one within the next five years.
“Vegas can definitely sustain an NBA team,” he said. “We definitely have the fans, definitely have a supporting cast, and definitely have the sponsorship money. Hopefully it happens within the next five years.”
There has been talk that the NBA could add two more teams and expand to 32. The two locations often talked about as potential homes? Seattle and, you guessed it, Las Vegas.
Given his status as an NBA legend, businessman, and part-time Vegas resident, Shaq would probably have at least some knowledge of the NBA’s possible expansion plans to Vegas.
Shaquille O’Neal will have to sell his minority ownership share of the Sacramento Kings, according to a report.
Shaq is a brand ambassador for Wynn Bet, which is a gambling company. Due to his relationship with Wynn, he cannot have an ownership stake in an NBA team and will have to sell his position in the Kings.
It’s unclear whether Shaq has initiated a sale or sold his stake in the team. The 49-year-old former center became a minority owner of the Kings in 2013. The Hall of Famer concluded his playing career in 2011.
According to one report, Shaq purchased a 1 percent stake in the Kings in 2013. He reportedly netted $6 million through his investment in the team.
Current majority owner Vivek Ranadive purchased a 65 percent share of the team in 2013 for $348 million. That means Shaq’s initial investment was around $5.35 million. His investment must have risen to over $11 million in value over his eight-year ownership term.
O’Neal is known for his endorsement deals and businesses away from the court. He has remained a popular figure since retiring and continues to work as an analyst for TNT. Maybe he keeps working so hard because he wants to keep up with current NBA salaries.
Shaquille O’Neal gave Giannis Antetokounmpo the ultimate honor via Instagram on Saturday.
The Big Fella shared a graphic on his Instagram account that compared his career stats with Giannis’ through age 26. Antetokounmpo compares quite well with O’Neal.
O’Neal even said in his post that Giannis “is a bad boy call him Superman just call me Shaq.”
Shaq has been extremely protective of his “Superman” nickname throughout his career. He has even put down Dwight Howard over it.
For him to give it to Antetokounmpo shows how much he respects the Milwaukee Bucks star. It probably helps that Giannis isn’t a center, because O’Neal seems to really get protective over fellow big men.
Shaquille O’Neal has some business interest in Las Vegas, Nev. and now he is adding to his real estate portfolio there.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Buck Wargo reported on Friday that O’Neal bought an estate in the Las Vegas area. The $1.95 million estate is located in the southeast valley and sits on over an acre of land. The house has just under 6,000 square feet of living space, with the sale closing on July 9.
O’Neal has been busy with real estate in the area. He has reportedly sold two properties over the last year and a half. One home was sold in early 2020, 13 months after being purchased. The other was sold in June, nine months after its 2020 purchase.
Shaq serves as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports. He also has numerous business interests, including his “Big Chicken” restaurant in Las Vegas.
O’Neal also enjoys working as a DJ and has spun records at Las Vegas venues in the past.
Shaquille O’Neal was ecstatic to find out that his broadcasting season was ending.
Shaq, who usually provides NBA analysis for TNT, was serving as a postgame analyst on NBATV Thursday after Game 2 of the NBA Finals. During the broadcast, Shaq was informed that this would be his last analyst assignment of the season.
The Big Fella got up and began dancing around in his underwear on live television:
This isn’t Shaq’s first time stripping down on TV. It’s part of what makes him so much fun. And congratulations to him on completing his assignments for the season.
The Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated from the postseason on Wednesday night with their Game 6 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. That means Rajon Rondo will not be playing in the NBA Finals, which ends a remarkable streak involving Shaquille O’Neal.
In each of the past 36 years, the NBA Finals has featured at least one player that was teammates with Shaq at some point in his career. Rondo, who played with Shaq on the Boston Celtics for a season, was the last one of Shaq’s former teammates remaining in this year’s playoffs.
Some of those NBA Finals, of course, featured Shaq himself. Others featured LeBron James, who played with O’Neal briefly in Cleveland. You can see the full list here.
There is no denying that Shaq is one of the most dominant players in NBA history, but the streak is further proof that he was surrounded by some great talent and key role players throughout his career. The 36-year streak may not come up right away when you Google Shaq (as he has told Charles Barkley to do), but it is definitely noteworthy.
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley got into it on Sunday regarding their respective defensive abilities.
The two analysts were talking ahead of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. Barkley talked up his Bucks, saying the Hawks only won Game 1 because Milwaukee’s defense was terrible. He said Milwaukee’s defensive changes were the reason Trae Young struggled in Game 2.
Shaq disagreed. The disagreement led to some classic lines.
“You don’t know nothing about D,” Shaq said to Chuck.
“You were an awful defensive player on the pick-and-roll. They were playing defense like you did. You can’t play defense like that in the modern NBA,” Barkley said in response. “I wasn’t a great defender, but I was a better defender than you!”
Shaq then noted how Barkley was getting personal with him. That’s a touchy subject and area for Barkley, who is always razzed by his coworkers about not having won an NBA championship.