Shaquille O’Neal joined Turner Sports as an analyst on its National Basketball Association studio show, a month after the 15-time All-Star and four-time champion retired as a player.
O’Neal will join Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley in the studio and be part of All-Star Weekend and playoff coverage, Turner said in a statement. He’ll also be a contributor to NBA TV and NBA.com.
“The guys are very, very fun over there,” O’Neal, 39, said during a conference call. “I know it’s going to work very well. We’ll all have our own point of view. Charles has the forward’s point of view, Kenny was the guard and I’ll have the center’s perspective.”
The 7-foot-1 O’Neal won two NBA scoring titles and was the league’s active leader in points (28,596) and rebounds (13,099) before retiring last month. He was also one of the NBA’s biggest personalities during his 19-year playing career, giving himself nicknames such as “The Big Aristotle,” a joking reference to his size and philosophical musings.
Financial details of the multiyear agreement weren’t disclosed. O’Neal said he was also pursued by Walt Disney’s ABC and ESPN networks, which have coverage of the NBA Finals.
O’Neal’s agreement extends beyond sports, including a development deal with Turner’s entertainment and animation networks. O’Neal released four rap albums and headlined a pair of ABC reality television shows, “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.” He starred in movies, including “Blue Chips” and “Kazaam,” and has been a reserve police officer in Los Angeles and Miami.
O’Neal averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds during his NBA career while playing for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
“Shaq knows the game and, on and off the floor, he has always been entertaining; a guy who gets it,” Johnson said.