Legendary Hall of Fame NBA big men Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley will be enjoying their very lucrative post-playing careers for a while longer, along with Inside The NBA teammates Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.
It’s always nice to see Shaq, an all-time Lakers legend who led the team to three straight championships from 2000-2002, excelling in his various exploits, even 11 years after the 7’1″ center’s playing career has wrapped up.
Warner Brothers Discovery Sports, the parent company for their broadcasting home TNT, issued a press release this week declaring that it had reached an extension with the fabulous foursome to keep them in the fold “for many years to come.” How many years, you ask?
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It’s looking like at least the 59-year-old Barkley will remain part of the Turner family for 10 more years, reports Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Per Marchand, Barkley is set to earn between $100-200 million over the duration of the new deal. Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post adds that he could dip his toes into other sportscasting spheres, beyond the basketball space.
O’Neal, who dabbled in other sports himself on his show “Shaq Vs.,” would be a fun presence on other programs, too.
“I’m happy for ‘The Godfather’ [Johnson] and Kenneth… is there someone else I’m forgetting?” the 15-time All-Star is quoted as saying in the official press release announcing the deal. “I’m kidding… love you, Charles. As long as I say, “Are you not entertained?” and the answer is ‘Yes,’ then we’re going to keep this thing going.”
The Big Diesel spent eight of the prime seasons of his 19-year career as a Laker. He was named Finals MVP in each of the team’s three title runs during his era, and was also honored as the 1999-2000 regular season MVP while a Laker. After being traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, Shaq went on to claim one more championship in 2006. He finally retired as a.. Boston Celtic (it happens) after foot problems limited him to just 37 games in the 2010-11 season.