When I heard that Shaq was interviewing for the Magic’s GM position, I couldn’t believe it! It wasn’t that it was so hard to believe a former player could be a GM, Jerry West was genius for the Lakers. I just simply didn’t think Shaq was smart enough to run a team. He was an intelligent player who’s charisma and affability served him well in the search for a post-career job, and he found a niche at TNT where he was able to argue with the equally goofy Charles Barkley, but as expected TV wasn’t enough for the big man. The same way his film roles and rap albums took backseat to his dominant play, his role on TNT just wasn’t enough adrenaline to take him out of the basketball world. He needs to feel involved, he needs to feel needed.
The same shenanigans that entertained him as a player don’t grab attention like they used to now that he’s another analyst looking to make headlines. However for Shaq, a GM position in Orlando would be a dream world. He lives in Orlando and played for seasons with a Magic team that drafted him. He took them to the Finals, where they lost to a veteran Rockets team led by Hakeem Olajuwon. Even watching highlights of his time in a Magic uniform makes you understand why he would want to return. He was young and brash with boundless athleticism and personality. It’s an image any former player would like to return to. It’s like “Old School,” he’s returning to his glory days.
All of these reasons explain why Shaq wants to return to Orlando, but not why Orlando wants Shaq to return. He’s a hero there, but if they hire him and he fails, they are as bad as Otis Smith. The Magic have to worry about Dwight Howard, but they might very well have to worry about the off-season transaction of Shaq just as much.