NBA TV Exclusive Interview Special "Shaq: The Big Conversation" to Premiere Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. ET

TNT Colleague and Inside the NBA Host Ernie Johnson Conducts One-On-One Interview as O’Neal
Prepares for Enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

O’Neal – One of the NBA’s Top 50 Greatest Players – Reflects on Top Moments,
Former Teammates, Including Kobe Bryant, and His Stepfather’s Influence

NBA TV will feature the primetime special Shaq: The Big Conversation on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. ET as four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal prepares for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The one-on-one interview – conducted by TNT Inside the NBA host Ernie Johnson – features O’Neal reflecting on his standout career, the events leading up to his departures from the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, relationships with former teammates, including Kobe Bryant, as well as the significant influence his stepfather had on his life.

During the hour-long special, O’Neal also discusses fulfilling his dreams on and off the court, the leadership of Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Dale Brown, playing with Dwyane Wade and Anfernee Hardaway, struggles late in his career, and life after basketball. In a personal moment, O’Neal – for the first time – talks about how he reached out earlier this summer to his biological father and how they have started a relationship together as of late.

Select outtakes from Shaq: The Big Conversation:

O’Neal on early impressions of Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant: “It began with a lot of patience…He told me one time he was going to be the Will Smith of the NBA. He told me that at 18 years old. I was like, ‘Ok, young fella.’ But I saw something in him.”

O’Neal on the Lakers’ 2000 Championship and the best NBA Playoffs record of all-time: “A lot of people forget but [we were] 15-1 in the playoffs. If it wasn’t for Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue, we’d probably be the best NBA team ever to win a championship. We still have the record. I was a little nervous last year [with Golden State].”  

O’Neal on playing with Hardaway: “It was perfect. It was the Magic Johnson-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remix.”

O’Neal on whether he was intentionally trying to tear down backboards: “Yes, playing in New Jersey, where I’m from, all of the family was there. Also in Jersey was the only man to ever dunk on me in the NBA, Derrick Coleman…Every time we played Jersey, I wanted to let him know I was coming. When I tore the backboard down, I was trying to do it.”

Additional NBA TV Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Programming

NBA TV’s weeklong HOF programming culminates with the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony from Springfield, Mass., on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. The star-studded class will be headlined by O’Neal, Iverson and eight-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming. NBA TV’s coverage will begin with the 2016 Hall of Fame Red Carpet Show at 6:30 p.m., hosted by Matt Winer alongside Steve Smith and Rick Kamla.

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m., the network will celebrate O’Neal’s career with five consecutive Hardwood Classics, beginning with the 15-time All-Star’s career high 61-point birthday effort as a member of the 2000 Lakers. Featured matchups will also include Game 6 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when O’Neal’s Orlando Magic eliminated Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Jordan’s only playoff series loss between 1991-98, airing at 4 p.m.

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