Shaquille O’Neal is joining the the TV show “Inside the NBA” on TNT. Shaq recently retired from the NBA in June due to persistent injury. He is a four-time NBA champion during his 19-year career. Shaq is getting ready to join the show alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. Movie Mikes had a chance to attend a conference call for the formal announcement of Shaq joining the Turner team and got a chance to get some good Q & A.
Mike Gencarelli: Do you think it will be difficult transitioning to becoming an analyst and being able to criticize players?
Shaquille O’Neal: I don’ think it will be hard. Some people give unfair criticism. Some people give fair criticism. I have the ability and backing to give fair criticism. The only time I have a problem with people giving criticism is when they haven’t walked that walk. I have walked many walks in my 19-year career. I think any criticism I give should be fair.
Q: Are you concerned about fitting in with the already established group on “Inside the NBA”?
A: I’ve always been a people person. The good thing about this show, everyone has their own opinion. Kenny has his opinion from a guard’s point of view, Charles has his opinion from a forward’s point of view and I have my opinion from a center’s point of view. I know it will work out very well.
Q: Do you think that you and Charles Barkley will become the new ‘Kobe and Shaq’ duo of television?
A: I would say yes, Charles is a funny guy. He is a guy that says what’s on his mind. I’m just honored to sit up there with him, Kenny and Ernie. We are going to make it very fun. We are going to make it more exciting for the fans to watch.
Q: Where you concerned right off signing a multi-year agreement with Turner Sports?
A: I’m blessed to have the opportunity to have [other networks] and TNT come after me. But it was a deal I couldn’t resist. Out of my respect for everybody I didn’t want to make it a ‘this and that’-type of war. I made my decision very quickly and very professionally. I thought TNT and Turner was the place for me and I’m going to have fun doing it.
Q: Kenny Smith gave you the nickname “The Big Analytical”, do you like that one?
A: [laughs] I like that one. Good job, Kenny. That’s pretty good.
Q: Do you still have plans for pursuing your law enforcement career?
A: I still have plans on running for sheriff, but not anytime soon.
Q: Did you ever watch TNT’s “Inside the NBA” during your playing days?
A: I did watch the show. It was one of my favorite shows. As a matter of fact, I watched it after every game. The interaction between Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley was very entertaining and very fun, and I’m honored to be able to sit next to those guys.
Q: You think you will ever want to come out of retirement and get out there again?
A: No. One word answer: No.
Q: How did you want to be remembered as a player?
A: I want to be remembered as the most dominant player ever or one of the most dominant players ever. One of my goals was to win numerous amounts of championships and another one of my goals was to pass Wilt Chamberlain in points, because I felt like if I passed him in points then I would be alone by myself as the most dominant player. Because of injury, that didn’t happen. Hopefully, I’ll be touted as the most dominant or one of the most dominant players ever.