Current NBA on TNT analyst and 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal believes the league should cancel the rest of the season and shift its focus to next year, he said in an interview with Mike D. Sykes, II of For The Win.
O’Neal, listing safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, explained the NBA shouldn’t rush the rest of this season or the playoffs. Instead, each of the players and teams should focus on next season.
“I think we should scrap the season,” O’Neal said. “Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it. To try and come back now and do a rush playoffs as a player? Any team that wins this year, there’s an asterisk. They’re not going to get the respect. What if a team that’s not really in the mix of things all of a sudden wins with a new playoff format? Nobody is going to respect that. So, scrap it. Worry about the safety of the fans and the people. Come back next year.”
A growing number of current NBA players remain optimistic that the season could be resurrected, including LeBron James, who tweeted as much toward the end of last month.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a call with players on Friday discussing the steps necessary for a return, including regulations on various practice facilities and what to expect for the future. For O’Neal, however, it’s clear what decision needs to be made.
“It’s hard, but kudos to Adam Silver for taking that first step and thinking about the safety of the people and the players,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the remainder of the season but I would like everybody to be safe… So however long it takes for us to get 100% back to normal, I’m willing to wait.”
Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Former NBA player Shannon Brown was arrested after being accused of shooting his rifle at two people who were interested in homes for sale in Atlanta last week, according to ESPN. Brown, who played nine NBA seasons and most recently spent time with Miami in 2014-15, told authorities he believed the couple was trying to break into his home. Investigators reportedly found one empty shell casing at his house, with Brown facing an aggravated assault charge due to the incident. Nobody was injured in the situation.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines whether it’s time for the NBA to consider expansion to ease the financial burden caused by COVID-19. The league will likely be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic for multiple seasons to come, particularly from a revenue standpoint. “The league has expanded its line of credit, and I assume teams are using it,” said salary-cap expert Larry Coon. “Here’s an opportunity to erase that debt.”
- Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, plans to play professionally in Europe and skip college with sights set on eventually making the NBA, according to Nikos Varlas of EuroHoops. Antetokounmpo, 18, is seeking the strongest competition possible to prepare himself for the future. “I am examining my options, I have a few choices from the States, but I have decided to play in Europe”, he said. “I want to become a pro as soon as possible. I was born and raised in Europe, I know European basketball and the best thing for me would be to sign a contract with a European club. I will have to train and compete against grown men, I will experience strong competition and pressure and I will evolve on every level.”