Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal can dunk, but can he make TV audiences laugh? We may soon find out. The contract he just signed with Turner Broadcasting to be an analyst for TNT’s basketball games also includes an entertainment and animation development deal. “O’Neal is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, with entertainment credits including a number of roles and executive producer credits in both television and film,” the company says. Here’s the release:
Turner Sports announced today a multi-year agreement with 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal, to serve as an analyst across its portfolio of NBA assets. Beginning with the 2011-12 season, O’Neal will join TNT as a full-time analyst on the network’s Emmy Award-winning studio show, alongside Ernie Johnson (host), Kenny Smith (analyst) and Charles Barkley (analyst), and will be a part of the network’s exclusive NBA All-Star weekend and NBA Playoffs coverage. In addition, he will be a key contributor to NBA TV and NBA.com, providing analysis and commentary throughout the regular season, as well as for The Finals, All Star Weekend and the NBA Draft.
“I can’t wait to begin my new career with Turner. Over the past several years the team at Turner has taken the NBA and entertainment, in general, to a whole new level. I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the amazing team at Inside the NBA and I hope I can further the fans’ experience on a regular basis,” said O’Neal.
The agreement with O’Neal extends beyond the Turner Sports portfolio and includes a development deal with Turner’s entertainment and animation networks. O’Neal is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, with entertainment credits including a number of roles and executive producer credits in both television and film.
“We are thrilled to have Shaquille O’Neal join Turner Sports and our marquee roster of announcers and analysts,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “His unique insights, perspective as one of the league’s all-time great players and personality will be the perfect complement to our award-winning studio team of Ernie, Kenny and Charles, as well as to our programming on NBA TV and NBA.com.”
Among his many accolades during his illustrious 19-year playing career, O’Neal was chosen as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players, ranks fifth all-time in NBA scoring history (28,596 points scored), won the Rookie of the Year award (1993), MVP award (2000) and was named All-NBA 14 times.
Additionally, his impressive career includes four NBA Championships – three with the LA Lakers (2000 – 2002), where he was named NBA Finals MVP for all three championships, and one with the Miami Heat (2006). The 15-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA All-Star MVP (2000, 2004, 2009) also won two scoring titles (1995, 2000). He appeared in 1207 regular season games, averaging 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks in 34.7 minutes per contest throughout his career, which included playing for the Orlando Magic, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
Additional comments from TNT’s studio team on Shaquille O’Neal:
Studio Host Ernie Johnson: “Shaq knows the game and, on and off the floor, he has always been entertaining; a guy who gets it…Obviously, I know I’m going to have to eat before I get to the studio.” Analyst Kenny Smith: “The addition of “The Big Analytical” will be terrific. I can’t wait to make verbal passes to the most dominant center of our time.” Analyst Charles Barkley: “He is a great addition to our team and in the immortal words of (New York Jets linebacker) Bart Scott…CAN’T WAIT!”
Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports’ television line-up includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and professional golf. The company’s digital portfolio includes SI.com, NASCAR.COM, NCAA.com, PGATOUR.COM, GOLF.com and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.