Shaquille O'Neal won't be leaving “Inside the NBA" anytime soon. In fact, viewers are going to be seeing more of him across Turner's many platforms.
Turner Sports and WarnerMedia announced Monday that they have reached a multi-year extension with O'Neal, who joined Turner in 2011 after a 19-year Hall of Fame NBA career
During a telephone interview with The Associated Press, O'Neal said discussions were happening before the coronavirus pandemic halted everything in March.
“I'm happy to be with Ernie (Johnson Jr.), Charles (Barkley) and Kenny (Smith) for longer. I love working with them,” O'Neal said. “The first two years were difficult, I was trying to be Bryant Gumbel or the next Ernie Johnson. Then I realized Ernie is Ernie and they wanted me to be Shaq. Once I loosened up, things were a lot better.”
O'Neal said doing “Shaq Life” on TNT this past year, which was a series that showed him as a DJ, businessman and around his family, showed him the different things he could pursue with Turner.
Besides his appearances on TNT's NBA studio shows, the agreement includes O'Neal's “The Big Podcast” moving to WarnerMedia next year, “Shaq Life” being renewed for a second season, and O'Neal appearing on CNN's New Year's Eve show mixing tracks as a DJ. It also includes him serving as an executive producer for some projects on Bleacher Report as well as a new show on the business of basketball on NBA TV.
“I definitely want to get a cartoon going,” O'Neal said. “Turner has a lot of entities under their umbrella. Who knows? I might have to put ”Kazaam" under the Turner Movie Classics library."
O'Neal's current focus, though, is on the NBA playoffs. While he has liked the quality of the basketball, he does miss the travel aspect of the post-season for teams.
“It has to be done, but playoff basketball is about the stories and overcoming things, now you don't have that,” he said. “Now you just have to have a guy go off. There's no travel, no wear and tear, You have to have your A game on.”
Joe Reedy, The Associated Press