Shaq Just Learned What Pascal Siakam’s First Name Is

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: Shaq discovers something new about the NBA, LeBron’s milestone moment and more.
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Pascal who?

Inside the NBA was never supposed to be the home of erudite basketball analysis, but is it too much to ask for the panelists to be familiar with active NBA players?

During halftime of the Raptors-Bucks game, the TNT crew compared the first-half performances of Raptors teammates Norm Powell and Pascal Siakam. Ernie Johnson tossed it to Shaquille O’Neal, saying, “You have your eyes on Pascal.”

“No,” Shaq responded, “I have my eyes on Siakam.”

“Oh, I never knew his first name,” Shaq confessed after Johnson corrected him. “I don’t call him Pascal. I call him Siakam.”

It’s not exactly the same, but Shaq’s flub reminds me of a 10-year-old video I will never forget, when Mike Francesa thought a caller was playing a prank on him by mentioning a Tigers pitcher named Al Alburquerque. (Francesa insisted he knew the reliever only by his full name: Alberto José Alburquerque.)

Alburquerque was a guy Francesa absolutely should have known. He had just given up two runs without recording an out in the eighth inning of a playoff game against the Yankees the night before. Shaq should definitely know Siakam’s full name, too. He’s not a random benchwarmer for a team at the bottom of the standings. It’s his fifth year in the NBA and his third as a full-time starter. He won a championship in 2019 and was an All-Star last year. He’s the Raptors’ leading scorer! Even if Shaq didn’t know his first name, he never even bothered to look it up?


Shaq has been kind of an embarrassment on Inside the NBA this year. Last month, after Christian Wood put up 27 points and 15 rebounds in a win for the Rockets, O’Neal told him, “I owe you an apology, I wasn’t really familiar with your game.” Wood responded by calling Shaq “a casual.” And then there was the whole thing with Shaq calling out Donovan Mitchell in a painfully awkward interview. Shaq has always been the show’s resident grouch, but it’s not as endearing when he’s also ill-informed.

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