A four-time NBA champion, three-time NBA finals MVP, and who many consider the most dominant center of all time is looking to take the highest position of an NBA franchise. Shaquille O’Neal recently revealed that he’d like to take ownership of an NBA team, but his comments about the rumor make it difficult for fans to assume which city he’ll end up in.
“It’d probably be disrespectful to say it,” O’Neal told CNN’s Becky Anderson. “But I would like to go back home. I’ll leave that to the viewers to figure out [what it means]. I would like to go back home.”
Home can mean many places for O’Neal as he played for six NBA franchises, played college basketball at LSU, and was born in Newark, NJ. O’Neal’s first professional “home” was with the Orlando Magic, where he was selected number one overall in the 1992 NBA Draft. He established himself in just four seasons averaging 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game.
O’Neal and his crew brought the Magic to its first NBA Finals appearance in 1995 but couldn’t get it done against Hakeem Olajuwon’s back-to-back Finals-winning Houston Rockets. Nonetheless, the city of Orlando could still have great respect for their best center of all time, and the fans could settle on him taking over the organization.
O’Neal’s next ‘home’ is where many saw him become the legendary figure he is in the history of basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal won multiple championships in Los Angeles with the late-great Kobe Bryant. The pair blossomed into the most dominant duo of their time, and in the 1999-2000 season, O’Neal won his first season MVP award.
The history of the Lakers would undoubtedly be held in good hands with O’Neal at the helm, but that won’t happen any time soon.
A final team to note as one of Shaquille O’Neal’s ownership probabilities is the Phoenix Suns. Though his time in the desert wasn’t the highlight of his career, he still showed what he had in the late stage of his career — making an All-Star appearance in 2009 and averaging 17.8 points as a 37-year-old.
The Suns have been under media scrutiny recently after team owner Robert Sarver was suspended a year after an independent investigation found he helped foster a toxic workplace culture based on racist and misogynistic behavior. Sarver recently revealed he was planning on putting up the Suns and Mercury for sale due to the investigation.
O’Neal has his options, but for now, he can give back to the community and continue investing in the several businesses he owns. No franchise is a long shot for the four-time champion, but an ownership decision may come sooner than expected.