Shaquille O'Neal gave a conference call earlier Thursday to discuss his decision to join TNT's Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. Shaq said that while he also received offers from ESPN and ABC, joining TNT was an easy call.
"It was an easy decision," Shaq said. "They're very upfront over there. You guys, as they say in the sports world, like to keep it real over there."
Shaq said he didn't want to "lead people on," and therefore chose TNT very quickly. He emphasized his plan to just fit in and make a good thing better, suggesting that now the show has a guard's' perspective (Smith), a forward's (Barkley) and a center's (Shaq). He said he's not concerned that there won't be enough air time for all three and said he feels comfortable being critical towards players if needed.
"Some people give unfair criticism, some people give fair criticisms. I have he ability and the background to give fair criticism," he said.
Shaq said TNT was always his favorite show and said he hopes to broadcast like Bryant Gumble. He also discussed a number of other topics. Namely:
- On Yao Ming: "I do think Yao Ming is a first-ballot Hall of Famer."
- On Kenny Smith calling him "The Big Analytical" in the press release: "I like that one. Good job Kenny. The Big Analytical. I like that."
- On running for sheriff: "I still have plans on running for sheriff, but not for a while."
- On the lockout: "The only people suffering in this lockout situation are the fans. The regular everyday man doesn't understand millionaires vs. billionaires."
- On LeBron James: Shaq said he learned from Michael Jordan that you have to learn how to fail before you learn how to succeed, and he thinks LeBron will be back to the Finals.
- On his legacy: "I want to be remembered as the most dominant player ever or one of the most dominant players ever."
- On Dwight Howard: "If he doesn't win 2 or 3 championships, I'll be very disappointed. He has no competition. None."