by Mark Anthony Green
Shaquille O’Neal loves to debate. Which is probably why he was so interested in being a commentator for the NBA on TNT. But when it comes to the Big Aristotle, there are a few things that cannot be debated: His dominance as a basketball player, his many remarkable philanthropic efforts, and the fact he is the tallest, strongest kid on earth. Now that Shaq is on your television nightly, whether it’s while discussing hoops or being the spokesperson for Dove Men + Care Journey to Comfort, he’s not holding his tongue—when you’re 7’1″, you don’t have to. As he says, “A lot of times I’m just messing around—but if he thinks I’m serious, so what?”
We sat down with the soon-to-be “Dr. O’Neal” to talk about his Ph.D plans, whether Chris Bosh is tough enough to be his frat brother, and to settle the debate, once and for all: who are the best players to ever play the game.
GQ: How’s the new gig at TNT been so far?
Shaquille O’Neal: I like it. I’m learning a lot. I think I do a good job of making people laugh and giving them a little bit of basketball. My job has always been to entertain people. I want people to laugh. I don’t like bragging all the time on what I used to do, but if I have some insight on what needs to be done I’ll say it. A lot of the times the players, they think I’m bashing them. I’m just sending out a blueprint. Especially when it comes to Dwight Howard, it’s all in that blueprint. I may tell him something, like “Oh, you need to have 28-15.” I love doing it.
GQ: You’ve been pursuing other business ventures for a while now, right?
Shaq: Yeah, I’ve been a businessman since ’98.