Shaquille O’Neal said while he was intrigued by the Orlando Magic’s general manager vacancy, he’s not interested in pursuing the job.
O’Neal, 40, issued a statement today after ESPN reported that the four-time National Basketball Association champion could meet with Magic officials as soon as next week about joining the team’s front office.
O’Neal, who spent his first four seasons with the Magic after being taken with the No. 1 draft pick in 1992, has worked as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports since retiring in 2011 following a 19-year playing career.
“When I first heard about the vacancy for the Orlando Magic general manager position, I was clearly intrigued,” O’Neal, a 15-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion, said in a statement on NBA.com. “I was drafted by the Magic. I have a great love for the franchise, and I have made Orlando my home. However, this is not a job I have an interest in pursuing.”
The Magic fired General Manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy two days ago following a season that included a trade request by All-Star center Dwight Howard and a second straight loss in the first round of the playoffs. Magic President Alex Martins said at the time he wanted to hire a new general manager before the June 28 NBA draft.
ESPN said O’Neal’s presence with the Magic could help the team retain Howard, who requested a trade during the preseason and then agreed to stay with the team at the trading deadline.
“I feel very fortunate to be with TNT and to have the best job in sports,” said O’Neal, adding that he looks forward to many more years working with on-air partners Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson. “I wish the best for the Magic and I am confident that they will select a great GM and coach.”