Shaquille O’Neal Joins Turner Sports



via press release:

Shaquille O’Neal Joins Turner Sports

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.

Notes from Turner Sports Announcement

Shaquille O’Neal Joins Turner Sports

 Thursday, July 14, 2011

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.

Participants:

  • David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
  • Shaquille O’Neal, Turner Sport NBA analyst

 

Levy welcoming Shaquille O’Neal to Turner Sports: “On behalf of Turner Broadcasting, I’m excited to formally welcome Shaquille O’Neal to our Turner family. We are thrilled to have Shaquille join Turner Sports and our marquee roster of announcers and analysts. Whether it’s his athletic career, business accomplishments or even his success in the entertainment industry, Shaquille has always been one of the most accomplished people in every field he has ventured into. Certainly for the past 19 years, Shaquille has been one of the most dominant and charismatic players in the NBA. His larger-than-life personality will be the perfect complement to our award-winning ‘NBA on TNT’ studio team of Ernie, Kenny and Charles, as well as our programming on NBA TV and NBA.com. Our NBA studio show on TNT is one of the best in the business. The show resonates with players and fans alike because it’s authentic. We are confident Shaquille’s presence will only enhance the program.”

 

O’Neal on joining the Turner family:  “I want to thank Turner and TNT for inviting me into the family. It was pretty much an easy decision. I felt this was the place for me. You guys are very fun. As they say in the sports world, ‘Keep it real.’ So I thought it was the best fit for me.”

 

O’Neal on whether he and Charles Barkley will become the new ‘Kobe and Shaq’ duo of television: “I would say yes, Charles is a funny guy. He is a guy that says what’s on his mind. I’m just honored to sit up there with him, Kenny and Ernie. We are going to make it very fun. We are going to make it more exciting for the fans to watch.”

 

O’Neal on fitting in with an established group:  “I don’t think it will be hard for me. I’ve always been a people person. [The] good thing about this show, everyone has their own opinion. Kenny has his opinion from a guard’s point of view, Charles has his opinion from a forward’s point of view and I have my opinion from a center’s point of view. I know it will work out very well.”

 

O’Neal on being courted by other networks: “I was very blessed to have many people come after me. Out of my respect for everybody I didn’t want to make it a ‘this and that’-type of war. I made my decision very quickly and very professionally. I thought TNT and Turner was the place for me and I’m going to have fun doing it.”

 

O’Neal on concerns about having time to give his opinion during the time allotted: “It is not a concern for me. I’ve always been a team player. I know when to fit in or sit back and relax. I’m just honored that they invited me and chose me. I’m just going to make it more fun than it already is.”

 

O’Neal on the career legacy of Houston Rockets forward Yao Ming: “Yao Ming is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was a great player, a dominated player. The way his career ended was similar to how my career ended – by injury. If he wasn’t injury-plagued those last three years he would have put up more numbers. He’s always been a class act – number one player to come out of China. I’m also glad to call him my friend. Every time I go to China, his parents feed me and bring me gifts. He’s a great guy and I wish him well.”

 

Levy on the response from the existing Inside the NBA analysts [Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley] on O’Neal joining Inside: “Charles was one of the biggest proponent of bringing Shaquille on board. We have always had four people sitting up there in any way shape or form. I think there will be enough to go around for everybody and certainly Shaquille’s insight will only enhance the overall show. We are always looking for ways to improve the show and we believe bringing Shaquille on will do that.”

 

O’Neal on what gave Turner the edge over other networks: “It was very tempting. I have a tremendous amount of respect for [the other networks]. I felt that Turner and TNT was the place for me. It has always been my favorite show. I thought that was just the best fit for me.”

 

O’Neal on committing to a multi-year agreement with Turner Sports: I’m blessed to have the opportunity to have [other networks] and TNT come after me. But it was a deal I couldn’t resist.”

 

O’Neal on Kenny Smith naming him “The Big Analytical”: “I like that one. Good job, Kenny. That’s pretty good.”

 

O’Neal on the transition to becoming an analyst and having to criticize players: “I don’ think it will be hard. Some people give unfair criticism.  Some people give fair criticism. I have the ability and backing to give fair criticism. The only time I have a problem with people giving criticism is when they haven’t walked that walk. I have walked many walks in my 19-year career. I think any criticism I give should be fair.”

 

O’Neal on continuing his law enforcement career: “I still have plans on running for sheriff, but not anytime soon.”

 

O’Neal on LeBron James and Heat in the Finals: “They just came up against a team and it was their turn. [Dallas Mavericks forward] Dirk [Nowitzki] played unbelievable. They [Dallas Mavericks] played together. I just think it was their turn.   Michael Jordan told me a long time ago that before you succeed you must first learn to fail. This was the Big Three’s first time together and they made it very far and they are going to be together for a long time.  I’m guaranteeing they will get back.”

 

O’Neal on deciding on the direction of his career after playing:  “Right away, right when I announced my retirement, I got a few calls. I didn’t want to put people in an unnecessary bidding war.  I chose TNT/Turner. I felt that was the best fit for me. I would love to sit up there with Kenny and Charles and have a great time.”

 

O’Neal on if he watched TNT’s Inside the NBA during his playing days: “I did watch the show. It was one of my favorite shows. As a matter of fact, I watched it after every game. The interaction between [Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley] was very entertaining and very fun, and I’m honored to be able to sit next to those guys.”

 

O’Neal on whether or not he’ll ever want to come out of retirement and get out there again: “No. One word answer: No.”

 

O’Neal on how he wants to be remembered as a player: “I want to be remembered as the most dominant player ever or one of the most dominant players ever. One of my goals was to win numerous amounts of championships and another one of my goals was to pass Wilt Chamberlain in points, because I felt like if I passed him in points then I would be alone by myself as the most dominant player. Because of injury, that didn’t happen. Hopefully, I’ll be touted as the most dominant or one of the most dominant players ever.”

 

O’Neal on the “state of the Big Man” in the NBA now that he and Yao Ming have retired: “The beasts are now gone. The goliaths are now gone. That leaves Dwight Howard out there by himself. If he doesn’t get two or three championships, I’ll be disappointed because he has no competition out there anymore. None. Zero.”

 

O’Neal on his planned “broadcast style”: “I’m just going to try to be charismatic, funny, and very professional. My favorite analytical guy is Bryant Gumbel. I love him. He’s so smooth and he’s intelligent. Hopefully, I can get to that level one day.”

-30-

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
– 30 –

Visit Turner Sports online pressroom at http://news.turner.com. Follow Turner Sports on Twitter @TurnerSportsPR

blog comments powered by Disqus