After LIV Golf, WWE and UFC, Middle East Attracts Another Major American Sport as Shaquille O’Neal Reacts with Joy

Published 09/30/2022, 4:30 PM EDT
Former professional basketball player/author Shaquille O’Neal speaks on stage during LIVE from the NYPL: Shaquille O’Neal held at the New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwartzman Building in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)

Thanks to the immense popularity of the league and the elite level of play, the NBA has millions of fans around the world. It is no secret that many countries in the world are more than eager to host NBA matches. In fact, the United Arab Emirates recently announced some games and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal cannot keep calm.

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According to reports, the Atlanta Hawks will take on the Milwaukee Bucks on the 6th and 8th of October. This will be part of the pre-season tour scheduled in the UAE. Therefore, the NBA followed the path of sporting events like UFC, LIV Golf, WWE, and many other mainstream sports to rock the Middle-East

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Former Los Angeles Lakers icon Shaquille O’Neal is the official ambassador of the 2022 NBA Abu Dhabi games. Fans in the UAE will get the opportunity to see Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young in action.

Shaq said, “NBA coming to Abu Dhabi will be great for the sport of basketball. This league is truly global and some of the best players in the world are already coming from outside the United States.

Moreover, even Shaq could not hold back his emotions while talking about the matchup between Giannis and Young. O’Neal talked about how seeing those players will inspire people, especially the younger generation. Furthermore, this will be good for the overall development of the game.

Additionally, Shaq also said that just because this will be a pre-season fixture, doesn’t mean that the teams would take it easy on each other.

Shaquille O’Neal supported his friend during the LIV Golf controversy

Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are the best of friends. They have worked together on ‘Inside the NBA’ for quite some time and share a good relationship off-screen as well.

A few months ago, Barkley was rumored to be leaving ‘Inside the NBA’. His next destination was commentating on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV – JULY 02: Shaquille O’Neal (L) and Charles Barkley attend The Greenbrier for the gala opening of the Casino Club on July 2, 2010 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for The Greenbrier)

While Barkley faced backlash for the rumors, O’Neal revealed that he would certainly have his friend’s back. Shaq said, “No. Charles is a dear friend. I would’ve supported him every which way.

Thankfully, Barkley committed his future with ‘Inside the NBA’. The Hall of Famer is an essential part of the show alongside Shaq and others and fans will certainly be looking forward to watching him.

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What are your thoughts on the games being held in UAE? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Abhinava Ghosh

1140 articles

Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.

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