According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Shaquille O’Neal will meet with the Orlando Magic next week to interview for the team’s vacancy at general manager.
Yeah, the guy from Kazaam.
It would not be unprecedented for an all-time great player to make the move to the front office. NBA logo Jerry West won seven championships running the Lakers. Larry Bird has rebuilt the Pacers into a contender.
And then there’s Michael Jordan, whose drafting of Kwame Brown will go down as one of his best decisions.
O’Neal did receive his doctorate in organizational learning and leadership earlier this month, so it’s feasible that he wouldn’t be completely unprepared to handle this position. You just can’t help but think even a year in some lesser organizational role would give him a better idea of the financial nuances of how to run a NBA organization, which is probably the most complex job in sports thanks to the league’s salary cap and strange mid-level exceptions and amnesty clauses.
Shaq would also be a curious choice since he frequently seems to toss brickbats in the direction of Magic center Dwight Howard, particularly over his claim to the nickname “Superman.” (A brickbat is an insult, not a Shaquille O’Neal or Dwight Howard free-throw attempt).
Then again, perhaps Shaq would be the one orchestrating a deal between two of his former teams involving Andrew Bynum and Howard.
I don’t expect to see Shaquille O’Neal as the next GM of the Orlando Magic. But there is at least a chance such a silly-sounding move would work out better than any of us would think at first glance.