1. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do,” the words from the wise The Big Aristotle.
Shaquille O’Neal has done anything and everything anyone could imagine to do in a lifetime, except he’s done it all by the age of 40. The plethora of nicknames, the hilarious sound-bites, and the mad nice rapping skills are as much a part of his ongoing legacy as his emphatic dunks, four championships, and his beef with Kobe. Every fan has some lasting memory of Shaq that they’ll always remember him by as a player. As The Big Ticket once said, “If you don’t love Shaq, you don’t love basketball.”
And quite frankly, while some people may not think The Diesel is that good of an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, the man still knows how to remain in the spotlight. Regardless of whether his comments are insightful or critical, there’s something about his larger-than-life presence that draws one in to listen to what he has to say. So, even if this stint as a basketball expert doesn’t last much longer or ends up a total dud, so did Kazaam and he pocketed a light $7 million to do it. Shaq makes the most out of every business decision he’s made. The last frontier for him to conquer, though, would be ownership of a pro sports team.
Shaq has always been a man of the people. He may stand 7-1 but he’s the friendliest giant anyone could come across. The Shaqs-giving and Shaq-a-claus initiatives he’s routinely done for inner-city kids over the holidays show that he cares about the communities in need. Neither of these efforts he’s cared to do for much publicity. Shaq’s a big kid at heart and doesn’t lose sight that the smallest gestures can draw a smile and happiness to these children’s lives. It is because of giving acts like these that people in Orlando, L.A., and Miami still love him when he comes back. He has touched every city he’s played for, which enables him to relate to people from all walks of life.
Back in 2008, Shaq entertained the possibility of owning the Orlando Magic with Grant Hill: “Yeah, it’s serious. Grant, who’s like my best friend now, we have a relationship with the DeVos family. So we always throw out Grant president, me general manager. We always throw that out just to see what they say. Hopefully, they bite that. But if not, just put together a group and try to get something somewhere.”
The Magic dismissed Shaq’s overture quicker than when he dipped town in 1996. They didn’t have any incentive to sell the team when they had the new Amway Arena in place along with a top five player in Dwight Howard. Shaq had a better chance of making his free throws than realistically gaining any steam to purchase the Magic from the DeVos family, whether it was then or now. This doesn’t mean he won’t inquire about future opportunities when they arise either.
At any rate, no other past superstar knows how to initiate and stop controversy better than Shaq. He deemed the rivalry between him and Kobe as “all marketing.” And that feud was at the time as big a news story as The Decision. Nobody had any idea what the potential fallout after the Lakers defeat to the Pistons in The Finals would be. Shaq, as always, presented himself as a victim to the public… that Dr. Buss’ favoritism towards Kobe and not getting his rightful due resulted in him getting traded to the Heat. The soap opera Shaq created in Hollywood couldn’t have been scripted by anyone else. These events alone make him an ideal candidate to own a sports franchise in the near future. There isn’t anyone else that can come close to matching the total package that Shaq brings to the table.
The Hornets are in the process of being sold soon, according to reports. I wouldn’t count Shaq out of a last minute bid to bring Mardi Gras back to N’awlins. After all, the great Aristotle would agree that The Big Promise Keeper has a habit of performing excellence in whatever endeavors he persues.
Which five current players or former NBA players would make the best owners?
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