Shaquille O’Neal on NBA Season Potentially Shutting Down: “I’m not Worried About the Players. I’m Worried About Everybody Else’s Jobs”

Published 12/20/2021, 8:40 AM EST
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: Shaquille O’Neal appears to promote “Toys for Tots” during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)


Much like the other leagues, the NBA began its 2021-22 campaign with players healthy and the pandemic at its lowest. However, a wave of the virus has dragged all of them into a place of panic, with players entering the league’s health and safety protocols, left and right. While the NBA came up with a unique solution to the problem of absent players, Shaquille O’Neal has something else that he is more worried about. And it is actually something which should be of great concern to others as well.

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From the Chicago Bulls almost completely washed out because of the outbreak to the Brooklyn Nets having eleven of their players on the sidelines, even Kyrie Irving, the league realized that some damage control needed to be done. Teams could no longer continue with a patchy roster. So, they decided to implement the rule of replacements that will also require due process.

Dec 4, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; (Editors Notes: Caption Correction) Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) and guard Zach LaVine (8) celebrate after defeating the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Teams have been trying their best to fill up their empty rosters and have also had games postponed. However, it seems like the NBA is adamant about not halting the season. And although most people are worried about the health of the athletes, legendary Shaquille O’Neal pointed out how shutting out games will affect the other league’s employees as well.

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Shaquille O’Neal explains what he is most worried about

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NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 14: Shaquille O’Neal attends the ESPN Gala: “30 For 30: This Magic Moment” Screening during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

On his podcast, he addressed the rumors about a possible shutdown. “Have to protect the brand, and the game and the people,” he started off. “So, hopefully, it doesn’t get to a point where we have to shut down again. Because I am not worried about the players. I am worried about everybody else’s jobs.”

He further stated, “People in the arena, the camera people, the commentators. During pandemics and stuff, we still get paid and everybody else doesn’t get paid. I am more worried about the other people than I am about the athletes.”

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The Lakers legend isn’t wrong. Just rushing to put an end to the season won’t be a wise decision. And the athletes aren’t the only ones the NBA should be thinking about. As of now, the new rule will be in full force from January, if the situation curbs by then, the campaign is likely to continue. However, the new decision might be made if it goes out of hand, and hopefully something that will look after the other workers.

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Yashima Bhatia

1803 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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