Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game of basketball, but decided to retire this past season after a brilliant NBA career. It didn’t take him long to find a new job. TNT jumped at the opportunity to bring the Big Aristotle on their “Inside the NBA” show along with Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. Little did he know that job may be in jeopardy right now too. Not for any other reason but the league might miss some games because of the lockout.
The player’s and the owners got together on Tuesday to try and work towards a new collective bargaining agreement, but no progress was made. With less than three weeks until training camps are expected to open around the NBA, the two sides remain extremely far apart in negotiations and unlike in the NFL, games might be missed in the NBA and Shaq might have to find another way to use his time during retirement.
Shaquille O’Neal joined ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd to talk about whether or not he is concerned about being critical of former teammates now that he is an analyst, what he makes of the criticism LeBron James got following the NBA Finals loss against Dallas, if LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, whether or not he would’ve ever considered playing overseas, what strategy he would take if he was in charge of labor negotiations, whether or not he thinks there will be a season in the NBA, and if he would consider going on Dancing with the Stars.
Whether or not he is concerned about being critical of former teammates now that he is an analyst:
“The answer is no because I’ve always spoke the truth. Being that I played at an expert level for so many years I think I will be considered an expert. I think my word will be respected by peers and fans alike.”
What he makes of the criticism of LeBron James following the NBA Finals:
“It happens to everyone. It happens to Mike, it happens to David Robinson, it happens to me, and it happens to Tim Duncan. Before you succeed you must learn to fail. LeBron is a great player, a team player, but I think he was looking to be too much of a team player. Rather than dominate the ball. It’s hard when you have another guy dominating the ball. That’s something they’re gonna have to work out eventually.”
If LeBron is the best player in the NBA:
“He’s one of them. You can either say him, Kobe or D-Wade, but he’s one of the best.”
Whether or not he would’ve ever considered playing overseas:
“No. The NBA is where it’s at. Growing up as a kid I always wanted to be in the NBA. That’s just where it’s at.”
What he would do if he was in charge of the labor negotiations:
“Man if I was running it I would make sure that we would never leave on a bad note. You have to sit down and talk business. You have to open up the books and have business-like conversations. That’s what I would do if I was in charge. I wouldn’t really focus on silly issues. Of course when you’re negotiating they want something and we want something but you have to sit down over some coffee, have a good time, and just be like okay I’ll give you this you give me that. Arguing and shouting will not get it done.”
Whether or not he thinks they will play games in the NBA this year:
“Hopefully we will. The only people who lose in this situation are the fans. Hopefully the fans don’t have to suffer. Hopefully it gets done.”
If he would ever compete on Dancing with the Stars:
“No. I will never do Dancing with the Stars because I’m original in doing things and too many people have done it. I will probably do something different.”
Listen to Shaquille O’Neal on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 47:00 intoo the podcast)