Reminder: This Man Is Now A TV Analyst

  • Dan Fogarty

It’s an interesting time to be Shaquille O’Neal. Retired from pro basketball, Shaq is in the middle of dealing with a messy lawsuit (actually, several messy lawsuits) that threaten his nice-guy image. But setting aside his legal troubles, there’s some good on the Diesel’s horizon: starting on Christmas Day, he’s going to be on TV.

Oh, you forgot, didn’t you? You forgot that Shaq found himself in the middle of a media tug-of-war last summer, after he retired from playing and expressed interest in TV work. Remember? ESPN tried to get him, but after some will-he-or-won’t-he reports, he decided to take his talents to TNT, where he, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson will yuck it up a few times a week on Inside the NBA. We think he’ll do well. But we have questions.

Will the addition of Shaq mess with the show’s already-stellar chemistry? I have Inside the NBA as the second-best pre or post-game show on TV (behind ESPN’s College GameDay), so I’m interested to see how it will work when both Shaq and Barkley try to dominate a conversation. Inside already has a great thing going with their three-man rotation. Can they make room for Shaq? Also: will Shaq come prepared? Diesel was known to take a break from the gym every so often (by “break” we mean “he wouldn’t go”). Will he make an effort to watch game film? Will he have time to watch game film, considering he has roughly 80 million non-TNT obligations? Will he trainwreck? If he trainwrecks, how spectacular of a trainwreck are we talking here? Pretty spectacular, right?

We don’t know, and we won’t find out until Christmas. For now, all we have is this promo video, courtesy of Turner. If anything, it looks like fun. We’re hoping we get much of the same this season.