5 Reasons Shaquille O’Neal Might Not Be A Great NBA Analyst For TNT’s Inside The NBA
It looks like Shaquille O’Neal has found himself a second career.
Just a little more than a month after retiring from the NBA after 19 seasons in the league, Shaq is reportedly set to sign a deal with Turner Broadcasting to work as an NBA analyst next season—provided, of course, there is an NBA season next season. He’ll likely sit across from Charles Barkley on TNT’s Inside the NBA and provide his commentary on the league. He’s been entertaining throughout the course of his career and, much like Sir Charles, he’s got a larger-than-life persona that should play well once he’s in the analyst’s chair. So Shaq turning to Turner seems like it should be a runaway success, right?
Ehhh, maybe. On paper, it works. Shaq is funny, witty, and everything you want from an NBA analyst. He’s appeared on Inside the NBA in the past and has been plenty entertaining. But, does he have what it takes to be an NBA analyst full-time? We’re not so sure. Here are just a few of the reasons we’re skeptical about Shaq’s chances of being a success as an analyst next season.
Shaq has always been funny—in bits and pieces.
To be a good analyst, you’ve got to have a good personality, be quick on your feet, and know a little bit about the game of basketball. Shaq obviously fits the bill and meets all three of those criteria. But there’s one other thing you need to be able to do: Do all three on a consistent basis. Shaq’s been full of sound bytes in the past but he’s only had to provide them for four or five minutes tops every night. Now he’ll need to be able to talk for an hour or so every night there’s NBA games on TNT—without running out of material. It could be harder than it seems.
Shaq is very self-centered.
Charles Barkley does a good job of bringing his own career into his commentary. But everything he says isn’t about him. One thing Shaq will need to understand in order to be successful is how to offer up some insight into the game without simply making everything he says circle back to involve him.
Charles Barkley already does what we want Shaq to do.
Speaking of Chuck, he provides a lot of jokes during every Inside the NBA broadcast and pretty much already fills the role that Shaq is going to want to fill, too. It’s a little like trying to get two rappers on the same song together. In theory, it sounds like a match made in heaven. But does TNT really have enough airtime for Barkley and Shaq to do their thing—and do it effectively—on the same set?
Shaq has never been a guy to discuss X’s and O’s.
He doesn’t necessarily have to be a guy who discusses X’s and O’s—Kenny Smith already does a pretty good job of doing it on Inside the NBA—but he does need to provide some insight outside of just clowning on other players and telling his own tales. It’s always been pretty painful to hear Chris Webber try and do this on Inside the NBA, so we hope TNT doesn’t rely on Shaq to do it too often. But nonetheless, he does need to know how to do it every now and then to be successful as an analyst.
Shaq is probably going to have a lot going on now that his NBA career is over.
Charles Barkley seemingly does three things these days: Golf, gamble, and analyze games on TNT. Shaq, on the other hand, has always been involved in one thing or another, even during his playing days. He’s filmed movies, recorded rap albums, and shot reality shows. If he continues doing those things post-retirement, he’s going to cut into his time as an analyst and give himself less of a chance to succeed. We hope he takes his new role seriously and doesn’t try to simply rely on his natural charm to be successful—but we fear that’s exactly what he’ll do and that won’t help to make him the best analyst he can be. Let’s hope we’re wrong.