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Shaq wants to own a team, bring it to Newark. He means it.

Oct 18, 2011, 1:06 PM EDT

Shaquille O'Neal laughs as he announces his retirement from NBA at a news conference in Windermere Reuters

What is it with former NBA players who want to own NBA teams in markets where everyone else is trying to escape?

You’ve got Michael Jordan in Charlotte (a once good market where George Shin salted the earth) and now you’ve got Shaquille O’Neal is talking about Newark. Shaq is from New Jersey and Newark has a team — the New Jersey Nets — for one more season, then they are off to Brooklyn.

Shaq talked to the New York Times and said he still plans to buy an NBA team someday.

Yes. And I’m looking forward to bringing a team to Newark. I haven’t spoken to Mayor Booker about it yet, but I’m working on it. I know Newark can support an N.B.A. team. And I’m going to be one of the guys that’s going to bring a team there.

The Nets averaged 14,179 people per game last season, which was 80.6 percent of the building capacity (sixth lowest percentage in the league). Newark didn’t look like a strong market. To be fair, they had a team renting space in town until they could go to Brooklyn, so why should fans turn out? That said, Oklahoma City turned out in force when hurricane Katrina forced a temporary Hornets relocation, and that energy paved the way for the Thunder to come to town (screwing over Seattle fans in the process).

Take this with some salt. It’s not that Shaq doesn’t want to bring a team to Newark, it’s that he wants to do a lot of things and his follow through is not always there. Don’t take my word for it, ask Kobe.

  1. southernpatriots - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Shaq would be a good celebrity part-owner together with someone with much more money and management skills. Don’t think Newark is the best place, though. There are other cities which would be much more supportive. Shaq has a huge amount of fans in the South–Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, etc. Shaq did carry through on his promise to get his degree. Shaq did carry through on his support of LSU, but he did not carry through on his promise and vows to his wife. That may be biggest promise he ever made and did not keep.

  2. suhnum1fan - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    How? Not if you ex. has anything to do with it.

  3. cosanostra71 - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Shaq should buy in on the Hornets instead, and actually keep a team in a city for once- a novel concept in the NBA these days.

  4. Robert - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Newark Timber Wolves?

    New Jersey Timberwolves?

  5. philtration - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    More stories about rich people wanting to buy an NBA team?

    I thought the league was bleeding money and most of the teams cannot turn a profit or compete with the big market teams in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and New York?

    Which is it?

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