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In a move that’s sure to generate some memorable soundbites, recently retired Boston Celtic Shaquille O’Neal has signed on to join Inside the NBA on TNT for the 2011-12 season, if and when it commences. Shaq will join an already quotable panel of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson, where he hopes to “try to make [the show] more fun than it already is.”
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the studio is the first place Shaq will turn in his post-playing days. The affable big man has long had the proclivity for the humorous, brutally honest, or controversial quote, and, only a week into the job, he has already made headlines by slighting Chris Bosh in referring to the Heat’s “Big Two,” rather than their “Big Three.”
Though he will be featured on TNT, Shaq’s signing with Turner Sports will allow him to pursue other projects with Turner’s entertainment and animation networks, as well. Could the near future hold the next installment of Kazaam?
The charismatic and entertaining O’Neal has been dubbed “The Big Analytical” by his new co-worker, Smith, already setting the stage for the antics to come when the NBA tips off. While the potential Shaq-Barkley banter has the potential for comedic greatness, another thing to look for is Shaq’s commentary on former teammates and colleagues. Shaq has never shied away from voicing his opinions on other players and the officiating, and it will be interesting to see what he has to say about Kobe Bryant, among others, in light of the two future Hall Of Famers’ protracted feud.
Knowing Shaq, the studio and a vacation with Yao are in all likelihood not the only plans on the Big Aristotle’s plate for his retirement. While his future may be as unpredictable as the big man himself, here’s a look back at what Shaq has done in the spotlight off the court. If these are what Shaq’s been up to while a professional athlete, who knows what will be in store with all this free time now on his hands.
Shaq has long been interested in law enforcement, and claims that one of his goals in retirement is to become a sheriff. He has been a reserve officer with L.A.P.D. and was named an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshall in 2005. , and after he was traded to the Heat, became a Miami Beach reserve officer with a $1 annual salary.
On top of a number of cameos, Shaq has starred in two feature films. He played the title character in the 1996 movie Kazaam, where he portrays a genie that grants a boy three wishes. Shaq also starred in the more serious Blue Chips, a sports drama featuring appearances by a number of Boston greats including Bob Cousy and Larry Bird (Rick Pitino, too, but we can forget about that part).
Shaq has released a whopping five studio albums in his music career, and his 1993 Shaq Diesel even went platinum. Despite all the hard work Shaq put into his work, his most memorable lyric remains from his infamous freestyle in which he begged the question, “Kobe, tell me how my a** tastes?”
On top of the expected appearances in all the major basketball games, Shaq starred in “Shaq-Fu: Enforcer of Justice,” a Nintendo fighting game. The storyline of the game is just as ridiculous as you’d expect: Shaq happens to wander into a jung fu dojo, where he is transported into a new dimension with a mission to rescue a young boy from an evil mummy. On second thought, I’ll watch Kazaam again.
Shaq has also played a prominent role on the small screen. His own show in 2007, Shaq’s Big Challenge, lasted only a month, but featured the Shaqtus’ efforts to shape up the lifestyles of six obese young adults.
As one of many highly publicized stunts in his short time with the Celtics, Shaq played with fans via twitter before showing up in Harvard Square, where he posed as a living statue for roughly one hour.
Shaq’s got all the major media options covered, so what is next, you might ask? None of us may know, but there is no question that the Big Shamrock has a few ideas up his sleeve.