In the most obvious basketball-related news since Michael Beasley got in off-the-court trouble again, earlier this summer Shaquille O’Neal announced he would be taking his talents to the sidelines as part of the Turner commentary crew. You don’t have to exactly be a rocket scientist â€“ or a TNT NBA analyst â€“ to know that Shaq Diesel is quite quotacious and clearly fit for evening entertainment. It’s not a matter of if O’Neal will be successful, but how successful he will be. Thankfully, his new gig doesn’t require him to lug around 300+ pounds on 39-year-old knees or match-up against Dwight Howard. So it’s looking like this may be O’Neal’s best decision since signing with the Lakers the year they drafted a teenage Mamba.
Gifted with the expertise of a 19-year veteran, the personality of a Martin Lawrence stand-up session, and the Twitter followings of one of the most popular players to bless the hardwood (4,241,567 as of this afternoon), you can’t be mad at Shaq for accepting this opportunity. However, it does seem a little too obvious, as asserted somewhere near the top of this article. We expected Shaq to announce his plans to run for U.S. Senate. Or his interest in pursuing a post-basketball career in superhero-ing. Or moonlight as a ghostwriter for rap artists in need of diss tracks. Instead, he told us to collectively tell him how his ass tastes, while cashing Turner checks for as long as the set can contain him and Barkley (Yeah, Chuck, we know you’re not trying to give up the fan-favorite title).
All we’re left with is a lot of “what ifs?” What if he did this? What if he did that? Rest assured, Shaq will most probably move onto even greener pastures once his tenure as an NBA analyst is over. But for now, we’re left to wonder: What if?
Here’s a look into five career options that we wish the Big Analytical would have considered before signing his soul away to Ted Turner. We got all the bases covered from hip hop management to professional food eating. Toast to the Big Fella and to what could have been.
1. Rap Artist Manager
The Diesel’s jump into the rap game was well-documented and even more so, criticized. Laugh all you want, but Shaq could teach these new jack rappers a thing or two about a thing or two. Maybe you forgot Shaq pulled some strings to be featured on Michael Jackson‘s HIStory album. Imagine where he could get a rapper with actual talent. While “2 Bad” may have been flanked by less-than-stellar outputs from MJ and Superman alike, it still stands as a crowning achievement in Shaq’s story. How many rappers blessed the liner notes of a Michael Jackson album? Not many. Give the big guy his due.
But if you’re one of those people hanging onto the notion that “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t,” then the proof is in the pudding: His debut album, Shaq Diesel, is certified platinum by the RIAA. That means he sold roughly 990,300 more albums than the Internet-generation-adored Lil’ B the Based God. As the black Frank White once so-eloquently said, “dumb rappers need teaching.” Shaq could provide more than enough lessons to cats unsure how to turn rhymes into dimes.
2. Cattle Herder + Wrangler Jeans Spokesman
Picture this: Shaq majestically strolling the Western plains in a cowhide leather vest with matching chaps, while twirling the largest lasso this side of the Lone Star State. It could happen. If Wrangler decides there’s no marginal return in endorsing a retired birdbrained cheesehead, Shaq could be their saving grace. Not only would Shaq add an “urban” element often desired by corporate (middle) America, but also the marketing opportunities, and more specifically, the nicknames would practically write themselves. The Big Herder. Shaquille “The Duke” O’Wayne. The Man of Veal. Wrangler Jeans might as well start selling sweatpants, if those names can’t rid the shelves of cheap denim.