The career of a professional is very short when compared to other conventional careers. Even though most athletes make a huge amount of money during their short careers, it still leaves a void in their lives. Nowadays, most former players invest their money smartly and indulge themselves in entrepreneurship after their retirement. Also, a lot of players return to their beloved games after a short break. This time, in the form of analysts. Over the years, there have been many NBA legends turned analysts. Let’s look at some of the most entertaining and popular among them.
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A great player doesn’t necessarily turn out to be a great analyst. In the past few years, we have seen some former athletes with great game IQ struggle as broadcasters. However, with good support and ample time to adjust, they have proved themselves as entertainers off the court as well.
Shaquille O’Neal’s hilarious antics
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Shaquille O’Neal started his journey as a basketball analyst in 2011 when he joined TNT. After only retiring in 2011, O’Neal wasted no time to start his TV career. However, this was not the Big Diesel’s first rodeo. Shaq has always been a genius marketer and knows how to market himself. Over the years, the Los Angeles Lakers legend has appeared in many commercials, movies, rap albums, and TV shows. Notably, he also hosted his own reality show as well.
Despite this, the 4x NBA champion required some time to find his feet as an analyst. But once he did that, there was no stopping him. O’Neal is notorious for his pranks throughout his NBA career. That part of him did not change as a broadcaster as he pulled pranks on his colleagues. While fans have witnessed some of Shaq’s hilarious antics, most of it was behind doors with his teammates. So when the Hall of Famer unleashed his jokes on TV, the fans loved everything about it.
However, don’t let Shaq’s antics fool you. The NBA legend has won almost everything there is and can analyze the game as good as anyone. Furthermore, the 15x NBA All-Star does not hesitate to speak his mind and criticize star players. Over the years, Shaq has had beefs with multiple stars because of his comments. While his Shaqtin’ a Fool segment was a huge hit with fans, most players did not find it funny.
Kenny Smith’s important role
Kenny Smith started his career as an analyst in 1998. He has been a very crucial part of the Inside the NBA show on TNT for years. Even though he is overshadowed by the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, Smith’s role is equally vital for the show. As O’Neal and Barkley run ragged with their funny antics and outlandish claims, the show needs some level-headedness and balance. And that is exactly what Smith and co-host Ernie Johnson bring to the table.
While the Houston Rockets legend also indulges in hilarious jokes, he still maintains etiquette. Also, he does not mind entering a full-blown argument with his colleagues to deliver his point. Having played alongside All-Time greats like Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and so forth, The Jet often shares incredible stories from the past. Furthermore, the 2x NBA champion always shares his honest opinions while still being entertaining.
Reggie Miller – From brutal trash talker to honest NBA analyst
Reggie Miller joined TNT as an analyst immediately after retiring in 2005. Interestingly, his sister was a sideline reporter for the network as well. He soon became one of the best analysts around with his incredible eye for detail and how he presented his opinions. Miller is one of the best shooters the league has ever seen. Also, the Indiana Pacers legend was a huge trash-talker during his time in the NBA. The sharpshooter never backed down from a challenge and backed his words with his impressive performances.
Cmon MAN!!! Out for Game 4 when it was rumored you were going to make your debut. This dude has ZERO competitive 🔥.. As small a chance as the Nets have to come back in this series, you still have KD and Kyrie, all you need is to win ONE game and take it from there.. #ManUp pic.twitter.com/Y5smcnQkqZ
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) April 24, 2022
He has mellowed down as an analyst and doesn’t use the iconic choke sign anymore. Instead, his catchphrase, “Click, click, welcome to your Kodak moment” has become easily recognizable and iconic. However, Miller is never afraid to express his views on controversial topics. Notably, the 5x NBA All-Star called out NBA players for not speaking out against superstar Kyrie Irving amidst his antisemitic controversy.
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Furthermore, he does not hesitate to criticize superstars as well. Notably, he once stated that Kobe Bryant was too sensitive to criticism while commentating on a game between the Lakers and the Houston Rockets. Recently, Miller openly called out Ben Simmons on social media during his stint with the Brooklyn Nets. The former shooting guard was disappointed that Simmons did not suit up for the playoffs.
Charles Barkley – The ultimate entertainer and analyst
Charles Barkley is arguably the most entertaining analyst in basketball. And quite possibly the best in the world of sports. After retiring from the NBA in 2000, Barkley immediately joined TNT as an analyst. His partnership with fellow NBA legends like Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson on Inside the NBA is a major hit among fans. Similar to O’Neal, Chuck is infamous for his funny comments. On the other hand, the Philadelphia 76ers legend’s brutal honesty is appreciated by many as well. However, it has also led to some feuds.
Barkley does not mince his words, and he is not worried about offending anyone with his comments. Notably, his criticism of Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets ended his years-long friendship with Jordan. Even though Barkley is ready to squash the beef with MJ, he does not regret being honest and doing his job. The Hall of Famer once revealed that he could never give Jordan a free pass just because he was his friend while criticizing other owners for doing a poor job.
Furthermore, the Hall of Famer’s remarks have caused beefs with NBA stars as well. Notably, his “bus rider” comment about Kevin Durant during his time with the Golden State Warriors did not sit well with Durant. The two went back and forth in the following months. However, Barkley has always praised Durant as a player. Also, Chuck can take criticism as well as he gives.
Even though he is trolled for never winning a title, Barkley almost always keeps it cool. Also, the 1993 NBA MVP has no problem admitting his shortcomings off the court as well. Be it his poor food habits or losing millions because of gambling, Barkley is open about it. The man laughs at himself for his mistakes and entertains fans at the same time. Notably, he has won the Sports Emmy Award for “Outstanding Studio Analyst” four times for his incredible work. Furthermore, the entertainer was recently rewarded with a massive contract extension by TNT.
Mark Jackson is arguably the best basketball analyst. From All-Star to head coach, Jackson has seen it all. He started the Golden State Warriors revolution with the small ball lineup. However, he unfortunately lost the job. Given his proficiency in the game of basketball, Jackson can see things differently than most fans and even former players. Also, he has the required tools to convey his points while being straightforward.
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Chris Webber’s basketball career was marred with injuries. The Sacramento Kings legend had everything to be an All-Time great, however, it was not meant to be. The 5x NBA All-Star began his TV career in 2008 after retiring from the league. He continued his work with TNT till 2021 and impressed everyone with the way he broke down the game and his honest takes.
There is no doubt that Bill Walton is an All-Time great. The man has dominated every level of basketball he was in. Notably, he was part of the NBA 50th and 75th Anniversary Team. The 2x NBA champion continued his dominant run when he took up the microphone as well. His catchphrase “Throw it down, big man! Throw it DOWN!” is very popular among fans. He is also known for his funny antics. However, Walton has made some bizarre comments as well. “What a pathetic performance by this sad human being. This is a disgrace to the game of basketball and to the NBA. He played like a disgrace tonight. And he deserved it.” Walton was speaking about Larry Johnson as per Bleacher Report.
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Magic Johnson is another All-Time great and arguably the best point guard ever who turned analyst. Even though Magic’s appearances have not been very frequent in recent years, he oozes class whenever he is on TV. While a lot of former players boast about their era, the 5x NBA champion always gives credit to the current generation understanding the evolution of the game. As nice as he is, the 3x NBA MVP does not hesitate to deliver his points across. Notably, he recently asserted that he is the best PG ever after Stephen Curry’s claim to the spot.
In the last few years, NBA legends Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade, and WNBA legend Candace Parker turned analysts after their retirement. All three stars have been very articulate in their analysis of the games and have become fan favorites. In the following years, they could be some of the most sought-after analysts if they continue pursuing it.
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