The Big Microphone is joining Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on TNT's
Shaquille O'Neal, the future Hall-of-Fame center with nearly as many nicknames as career points, has joined Turner Sports as an NBA analyst. He becomes a permanent member of the studio show hosted by Ernie Johnson, and will be part of the network's playoff and All-Star weekend coverage. He will also occasionally appear on NBA TV and provide content for NBA.com as part of a multi-year deal. The fourth chair on Inside The NBA had been filled last year by Chris Webber (who will remain with NBA TV and occasionally appear on TNT) and Kevin McHale (now coaching the Rockets).
How will Shaq adjust to
"Shaq is smart and funny, but I can't see him matching the absurd, scattered brilliance of Barkley in that milieu," said
Like most ex-athletes and coaches, O'Neal will have to work to become a good broadcaster. Often the toughest challenge for former athletes and coaches is criticism of former teammates and coaches. What makes the Turner situation a potentially good fit for O'Neal is
O'Neal has previously starred in movies (
That O'Neal ultimately opted for Turner over ESPN is not surprising. For starters, Turner's NBA studios are based in Atlanta (which is closer to O'Neal's Orlando home) and the once-a-week-schedule is commentator friendly. As is the case with most of ESPN's talents, O'Neal would have been expected to appear across its platforms, from