Shaq has been dogged in the past for not working hard enough on his game during the offseason.
You can’t say that this summer, at least if you’re talking about his broadcasting game.
Shaq spent three days last week honing his skills in that craft at Syracuse’s “Sportscaster U,” a broadcasting boot camp for pro athletes of which the Shaqtus paid for a private session.
His tasks included a radio interview with Stephen Curry and a TV thing with former Duke guard and current Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus.
How awkward must that have been for Curry and Paulus to be interviewed by a so-called journalism student who also happens to be the Most Dominant Ever in the big man category?
As a recent J school grad myself, it’s nice to see an athlete who cares about getting better at something that will likely be his future career regardless of whether or not he took part in this session. If it’s not obvious enough from his super-sized personality and his love of the spotlight, O’Neal said he hopes to host a TV show and radio show when his playing days are finished.
So often you turn on the TV and see a pro athlete jabbering on and you wonder what the hell his qualification is beyond that fact that he was once really, really, really good at that particular sport.
Although Shaq will likely fall into the Barkley-C-Webb category of being a natural at this sort of thing, his monotonic voice could certainly use this training.
Still, I hate how being an ex-pro is usually the top qualification needed for getting a job in this biz.
In an ESPN interview about this camp, Shaq also talked a little bit about his current situation when asked how he’d feel if another opportunity outside of Phoenix cropped up.
“I really can’t answer that right now because I think it’s unprofessional,” Shaq said. “Steve Kerr and the Phoenix Suns organization have been very great to me, but I understand how business goes, so when it’s time to have that conversation we will have that conversation. I know I got three years left in me, so I would love to still be there in Phoenix, but who knows what’s going to happen.”
That’s pretty much the same thing he’s always said, although how much longer he wants to play seems to fluctuate with every interview.
I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Broadcaster eventually has that conversation and takes his newfound skills elsewhere, especially with the way Dwight Howard is carving up Cleveland inside as we speak.
TMZ: Shaq caught speeding twice
In unrelated Shaq news, TMZ reported that Shaq scored a pair of photo radar tickets on Phoenix freeways this season, one in December and the other in February.