Of TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal’s insistence that Andrew Bynum is the Association’s “Best True Big Man”, the obviously dissed Dwight Howard would like O’Neal to “sit down and get on with his life”. An equally dismayed Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie goes a tad further, opining that Shaq’s vendetta against Howard, “is more sad than anything.”
Shaq, who chafed at Howard’s supposed theft of his Superman persona years ago, just needs to get over it. The pampered, petulant athlete bit works when you’re an actual athlete. But as a gabby wonk on a TV show? Silly biases and harbored grudges don’t tend to go over as well. Especially when even fair weather NBA fans and viewers can see right through you.
We’re enjoying the heck out of O’Neal’s turn on NBA TV and TNT this year. Like Howard, even at his worst O’Neal still has quite a lot to offer, and his presence on the set far outshines ESPN’s milquetoast coverage. He’s at his best as the goofball, though, and not the spurned giant in winter. Let it go, man.
I’ve nothing but respect for Dwyer’s work, but this is a rare instance where I’ll disagree. If TNT producers aren’t encouraging Shaq to continue his feud with Howard, than full credit to O’Neal for understanding the heel announcer gimmick is especially entertaining when 100% of the viewership knows you’re totally full of shit. This isn’t the first time O’Neal has made a premeditated public statement that would cause most reasonable persons to lay low for several weeks ; TNT knew full well they were not only hiring a guy with zero broadcasting experience, but one who’d previously endeared himself to the public by boasting of sleeping with Venus Williams and taking a dispute with Kobe Bryant to a very intimate space.
So I’d suggest Shaquille O’Neal is totally getting on with his life by using the wide forum his new gig has afforded him. If he’s smart, he’ll continue to diminish Howard’s accomplishments, perhaps to the point of suggesting Eddy Curry or Darko Milicic have supplanted Superman II as the league’s top (big) dog.