City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Shaq hopes to be called ‘Dr. O’Neal’ next year


Shaquille O’Neal may be retired, but at age 39, he’s hardly twiddling his big thumbs.

He still has a brand to burnish.

Sure, his new gig as analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” in Atlanta is on hold, at least until Christmas. But he’s finishing up his dissertation to receive a doctorate in psychology at Barry University in Miami. His memoir “Shaq Uncut” hit stores Nov. 15. Ane his branded “Shaq All Star Comedy Jam” tour is traveling the nation, coming to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Dec. 2.

We spoke to the legendary center last week before a Q&A and book signing at Morehouse College before the tentative agreement between the players and owners this past weekend:

Q: You’ve owned a place in Buckhead for 15 years. What made you decide to get a place here?

A: I always loved Atlanta. I’d come here and people have been so nice to me. I used to own a restaurant on Peachtree. I’ve owned other businesses, too. It’s a nice place to come to play and it’s only a six-hour drive from Orlando.

Q: In your book, you write about your early years in the NBA and how you loved to party here in Atlanta. Did you have any favorite places to go?

A; I used to go to Club 112 with Da Brat and Jermaine [Dupri.] I was just young, hanging with other celebrities.

Q: How much time do you spend here now?

A: Now that I’m with TNT, I had planned to be here once a week for “Inside the NBA.” Other than that, I try to get here once a month.

Q: Was there any realistic scenario that could have landed you here in Atlanta as a Hawk?

A: Yes, I could have. But [Hawks General Manager] Rick Sund wanted to give all that money to Joe Johnson last year.

Q: Was that a good move you think in retrospect?

A: Good move, bad move, I don’t want to talk about it. I just wish the franchise well.

Q: Are you going a little stir crazy since you can’t be hanging with Charles Barkley on “Inside the NBA”?

A: Stir crazy? A little bit. I was interested in getting up there with those guys. The NBA just has to get its business going again. The average person doesn’t get this billionaire vs. millionaire fighting. Hopefully, a deal can get done soon.

Q: What would you do if you were in charge of the players’ union?

A: If I were in charge, I would have focused on two things. I would have focused on protecting the owners from themselves. Then I’d say, “Okay, we are in a recession. That 50/50 is fine. We realize everyone has to cut down. But if we get a certain amount of revenue, that should raise us back up.”

Q: Were you surprised by the reaction to your negative comments about [then Miami Heat coach] Pat Riley in your book? [He described Riley's exercise regime as "Gestapo" and said Riley had cameras everywhere watching the players.]

A: I’m not surprised. Pat knows me. I’m marketing and selling my book. It’s a good thing for me. Every move I make is calculated. Pat’s commented about it. I don’t take it personally. It’s what happened. It’s true.

Q: You also wrote that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar never gave you the time of day. What was that about?

A: I don’t know. I never really cared. I would have liked him to come to me and say, ‘Do this or do that.’ He never said anything. He did put out a response and said he didn’t know I wanted to talk to him. It’s unfortunate because Bill Russell and Dr. J went out of the way to talk to me when I was younger. But it doesn’t hurt my feelings.

Q: You mention in your book that you and your girlfriend Nikki [Alexander] might do a reality show together. Would she go for that?

A: Maybe, maybe not. I want to do something different. It’d have to be positive. I want to make people laugh but I don’t want to be part of the buffoonery.

Q: Okay. Let’s talk comedy. Who are your favorite stand-up comics?

A: Chris Tucker, Kat Williams, Mike Epps and Kevin Hart.

Q: How about favorite comedy movies?

A: Anything with Richard Pryor. And the “Rush Hour” series.

Q: Do you attend every Shaq All Star Comedy Jam show?

A: Not usually. I don’t want to take away from the guys doing the comedy. It’s their night. I don’t want to just get on stage and say good night y’all!

Q: Will you be at the Atlanta show?

A: Maybe. By the way. I hate to brag, but I own the No. 1 urban comedy brand. Especially in times of recession, people need to forget their stress.

Q: You love kids. Is it a kid-friendly show?

A: No. It’s a real show. For example, I can’t let [comic] Gary Owen not use curse words. It’s not him. People: don’t bring the kids. It’s for adults only.

Q: Now that you’ve retired, what is your nickname for yourself now?

A: How about Dr. O’Neal? I’m graduating in March with my PhD. I will only answer to doctor. Shaq will be gone forever! I might even change my accent to an English one. Makes me more distinguished!


“Shaquille O’Neal’s All Star Comedy Jam” featuring Michael Blackson, Corey Holcomb, Capone and Gary Owen.

8 p.m., Dec. 2. $$46.45 to $57.20 after fees. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

31 comments Add your comment

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November 28th, 2011
11:07 am

Old news, next!!!! What’s on deck???


November 28th, 2011
11:43 am

Good work Rodney.


November 28th, 2011
11:55 am

As much as I would have wanted Shaq to come play here and help with marketing and put a face on this franchise that hasn’t been there since Dominique, he would have only ripped off the owners by his performance last year. He wasn’t worth what he was paid and couldn’t even finish out 1 season. So I give Rick Sund an okay on that non-transaction.

Shaq is Shaq….and don’t complain about Kareem. Not all players are cut out of the same mold. It wasn’t Kareem’s style to approach Shaq apparently.

Realistically, where would Shaq rank today if he gave his all to the game? He took a lot of shortcuts during his playing days.


November 28th, 2011
11:59 am

Nothing but a “Clown.” Why would Kareem want to waste his time with this “fool.”


November 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

Shaq would have done nothing for the Hawks had he come here … yeah, there was a chance to play his last season here but look at how that worked out for him. He didn’t play much. That would have been wasted money. I’d prefer it stay with Joe. Lame article …


November 28th, 2011
1:17 pm

Beautiful lady

November 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

I love Shaq..he’s he best and the funniest next to Barkley.


November 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

How about something on the walking dead!!

GT Alum

November 28th, 2011
1:42 pm

This article is being teased on the sports page with the line ” Legendary center was interested in playing in Atlanta, but Joe Johnson prevented it,” making it sound like JJ intentionally discouraged the trade. Just another in a long line of intenionally misleading headlines on the sports page.


November 28th, 2011
1:43 pm



November 28th, 2011
1:56 pm

Shaq was too old, too expensive and ineffective by that point. That would have been burning money.


November 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

Come on ya’ll is Shaq really a clown? Does a bear poop in the woods and clean up with a white rabbit.


November 28th, 2011
2:13 pm

All he did was win 4 NBA Championships, League MVP, 3 Time NBA Finals MVP, 15 time All Star…I could go on & on. Plus he is the games #1 Ambassador and a good business person who invests instead just throwing money away on junk.

Dr. Warren

November 28th, 2011
2:18 pm

Good interview. I’d be interested in learning more about the rigorousness of the Barry Univ PhD program.


November 28th, 2011
2:19 pm

This is a stupid article from a guy who hasnt got a clue, just groping in the dark for some headlines to help and mealiness career. Dude, get a life and or a job. Quit leeching off others and bring something to the table.

Joe Johnson did not say dont hire Shaq. That was a management/ownership decision.


Dont you have something of value to offer?


November 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

*a meaningless career

Gwinnett Fred

November 28th, 2011
2:29 pm

Was going to write exactly what GT Alum did above, so no need to repeat it other than the headline writers, or whatever title the person is that wrote “…but Joe Johnson prevented it.” should be fired. Completely misleading.


November 28th, 2011
2:53 pm

“to help and meaningless career. Dude, get a life and or a job.”

‘Really?’ He’s got a job, you aluded to it just 8 words prior.


November 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

who cares GT Alum? I went to a Hawks game last year and there were more vendors than ticket holders.

rollo lawson

November 28th, 2011
3:32 pm

Shaq was old, washed-up, and injury prone by then. No news here. Move along.

rollo lawson

November 28th, 2011
3:35 pm

We have a good core with Al, Joe, Josh, and Jeff. Is Jamal coming back. I like our chances in the east just as much as the next team.


November 28th, 2011
3:35 pm

The Doctorate Degree Shaq is pursuing is an Ed.D. in Human Resource Development, not a PhD. You would think that he would know what degree he was earning when giving an interview.


November 28th, 2011
4:28 pm

I know everything Shaq did in his career, but that doesn’t discredit the fact that he loves to have fun and joke. He always and I mean always says something to make himself look stupid.


November 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

i get so tired of hearing or reading about who could have been a hawk. shaq was past his prime and would not have helped any way.the fact of the matter is, atlanta should do anything possible to bring dwight howard to the ands, ifs or buts about any means neccessary.


November 28th, 2011
5:01 pm

I’m sorry, but there was literally no reason to bring in Shaq at that point in his career. He was far from the Shaq that helped the Heat win the 2006 championship and light years from the Shaq that helped the Lakers three peat in the early 2000’s. The fact that Atlanta took out Orlando screams volumes that the problem wasn’t at center. And the fact that the Hawks took Chicago to a game six shows that they are capable. What has to happen is that Larry Drew has to coax consistent play out of a team that has always been woefully inconsistent. Consistancy, that’s what was needed last year, not an aging, out of shape, hall of famer.

Big Al

November 28th, 2011
5:51 pm

Shaq: NBA ring
LeBron: no ring

Shaq: College degrees – Bachelor’s & Masters
LeBron: high school diploma

Shaq: future PhD
LeBron: high school diploma

Shaq: good guy
LeBron: back stabber

Advantage: SHAQ!


November 28th, 2011
7:59 pm

Rodney . . . learn something about the workings of basketball, and the NBA in general.

If the ASG ( the Atlanta Spirit Group, the owners of the Hawks . . if you didn’t know that ) . . wanted Shaq, the 16 million that JJ made last year DID NOT prevent them from getting the Diesel.

Contrary to popular belief, JJ is not making 20 million a year yet . . and won’t make that type of money for another 2 seasons.

The ASG never made a legit enough offer to get Shaq. He was simply using the Hawks to TRY to get as much money as he possibly could. In the end, he settled for minimum wage to get a “cheap” championship with the Celtics. But that old body couldn’t hold up.

Honestly, Shaq had NO INTENTION on playing with the Hawks, because he didn’t see us as a title contender.

Stick to what you know . . . radio and TV. Leave the sports to legit sportswriters who know what the REAL DEAL is with Shaq.


November 29th, 2011
12:39 am

Wow Rodney, looks like someone gave you a shaft and slapped a misleading title on your interview and put it on the sports page.

Don’t let it sweat you. It was a good interview. It was about his COMEDY not his basketball, which in truth was comedy, tragic comedy. He could have been the best ever had he applied himself but run of the mill was good enough for him. How many rings did he win without Kobi?


November 29th, 2011
12:17 pm

A masters degree from Phoenix university is worth about as much as an associates degree from a community college. University of Phoenix has an open admissions policy, which means they basically have no standards and will admit in anyone who has a pulse and can pay them.

Furthermore, the college he’s getting his “doctorate” at is not very credible from an academic standpoint. That should be obvious when a person with a ‘general studies’ degree from LSU and an MBA from University of Phoenix can be admitted, and complete a “doctorate” in less then three years. Like a degree from Phoenix, or any other open admissions school (AIU, Strayer, Capella, Kaplan, Herzing, etc.), that “doctorate” isn’t worth the paper its written on.

Any credible “doctorate” from a serious state research university, not only requires very difficult and rigorous admissions criteria, also takes on average 5 years to complete going to school full time.


December 1st, 2011
12:24 am

Shaq’s done an outstanding job as a NBA player and building his brand but he’s no “doctor”. I don’t know whether he’s playing a joke or looking at that empty spot in his life that he might not ever be able to fill.

He’s like the dude you see that you think has everything, yet will always be trying to run that extra mile that is forever out of reach.