Shaq Is Ready For The Supporting Role
No longer at center court, Shaq is still making moves.
While in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal played for six different teams, winning four championships and assuring himself a place in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. Now, still early in his retirement, Shaq continues to make move, chatting it up on Inside The NBA, becoming a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings, and launching his own line of watches from HSN. Shaq is seemingly more agile now than during his playing days. Maxim caught up with “The Big Aristotle” to discuss Kobe and The Lakers, his opinions on law enforcement, and the next installment of his video game, Shaq-Fu.
When it comes to watches, are you an analog or a digital guy?
I’m a digital guy, always been one. But every now and then I throw it back with an analog watch.
What are your thoughts this year on Kobe and the Lakers?
I played with Kobe when he was young, he was only 18 when he came into the league, so to see him pass all of these milestones, to be up there with Jordan, it’s amazing. It’s obviously frustrating to not be on a winning team, and Kobe is such a competitor.
What does it do to a player’s psyche to be on a losing team?
I’ve been on good teams, some bad ones, obviously you go out there and play to win every night. For Kobe, he goes out there just as hard as he can, just like a lot of people, even if their team isn’t so great.
Do you think Phil Jackson has a realistic plan for the Knicks?
Yeah, absolutely – if people buy in. Phil has a system and Derek Fisher is a good coach to get the guys on the same page. But unless you actually have the talent, you won’t win games.
If you were Carmelo Anthony, would you have left the Knicks this summer?
Again, you want to put yourself in a situation where the team is playing as a unit. You know, Tim Duncan doesn’t have as many rings as he does if Steve Kerr doesn’t hit that shot in the finals. I don’t have those rings if Derek Fisher doesn’t hit that shot. It’s about more than just one player to win a championship.
How do you feel about all the compliments Inside The NBA is getting?
You know, at this point I view it as more of a comedy program – it has to be some reason to stay up between the first game and the second one, because one of those games isn’t going to be very good – so we just try to keep people entertained.
With some more time on television, do you feel like you could get back into acting?
Nah, not unless I’m just in a small supporting role. When I was younger, you know, I did Kazaam and I figured out that I couldn’t really carry a film as a lead actor. So unless someone were to call me up with something small to do, just to be a character or make an appearance, I don’t think I’ll get back into acting.
What’s up with the new version of Shaq-Fu?
When we were putting the original game together, it was still early in the technology, fighting games didn’t really looks like we wanted them to look like yet, so I didn’t really release the best game. But I can promise you that the new Shaq-Fu will be the best video game you’ve ever played.
You’ve long been a supporter of police departments and are now a police officer yourself, how can the we improve relations between police departments and the community?
I’m a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida. It’s tough to be in law enforcement and it’s always hard to be African-American. Right now we need to strengthen communication between police departments and communities to make sure that we’re all on the same page and that police and the people they serve are always acting in a safe and responsible way.
Photos by Charles Sykes / Bravo / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images