Report: Shaquille O’Neal Officially Joins The Inside The NBA Crew
Over the weekend, reports started emerging that recently-retired Shaquille O'Neal would begin his inevitable transition to broadcasting with TNT. According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, later today, that news will be officially confirmed:
Shaq will officially be named today as the newest member of TNT's Inside The NBA. Joins Barkley, Kenny Smith and EJ.
Well...that should be interesting. (Also of note: Deitsch's column on the hiring says Shaq's deal "includes a development deal with [Turner's] entertainment and animation networks.") It spells the end of the Chris Webber Inside the NBA era, which may be unfortunate since many thought Webber was doing quite well for himself on the program. But Shaq's name recognition was apparently just too much for TNT to ignore, so he'll get his shot.
How will it go? Hard to say. Sure, Shaq can be a funny, charming guy, but he's also got an exceedingly outsized personality. He will not be the only person like that on this program. Can a show survive with two guys who both command so much of the spotlight in the same room - one of whom is just breaking into broadcasting? At the very least, some growing pains are a given.
While we're not sure if the new program will work, we can say we'll be tuning in to see whether it does. And that's why this move was made. Chris Webber is a recognizable name who, by all accounts, dedicated himself to his broadcasting job. Shaq, for now, is just a glamorous name. But those names get eyeballs...and if Shaq works at it - and works with Barkley - he's got the potential to be good. Let's hope so, because for now, Shaq's potential is only that.
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